MARCO Fu set up a repeat of Gerard Greene’s only other major career semi-final after beating John Higgins 4-1 at the Wyldecrest Parks PTC Finals on Friday.
The 36-year-old from Hong Kong, despite being higher-ranked than four-time world champion Higgins, was as usual the underdog with the bookmakers for a big quarter-final.
But world No8 Fu has made it a career’s work defying the odds, and he got on top of his 38-year-old opponent early on - never relinquishing his grip at Preston’s Guild Hall.
The reigning Australian Open champion is snooker’s silent assassin, doing the vast majority of his talking on the table.
And he for once will be the favourite against world No66 Greene as they chase a place in Saturday night’s final and the £100,000 first prize.
The pair met at the same stage in the 2007 Grand Prix, a match edged 6-5 by Fu who went on to win the title that year.
Fu said: “I played well, and didn’t miss anything easy so I am very happy to beat John and be through to the semi-finals.
“It doesn’t matter who I have beaten, or who I play now – there have been a lot of shock results, or so-called shock results this week. But there are no shock results in best of sevens.
“It is anyone’s game, and if you get off to a good start it can be hard to stop you.
“I remember the 2007 semi-final against Gerard, it wasn’t the best match. Hopefully this one will be better, I am playing better and I think he is too. Maybe it is a good omen, but I am not big on that kind of thing.”
There will be no time for dwelling on the disappointment for Higgins as he jets out immediately for the China Open, the last tournament before heading for the Crucible in three weeks’ time.
Higgins said: “The second frame was a big one to go 2-0 down, but every credit to Marco, he has been behind a couple of times and cleared up with good breaks.
“He played very well in among the balls, and in a short format that is deadly. I said before the game he was unheralded outside snooker, but in the groove he is really dangerous.
“He makes it look very easy, with a great positional game. I still felt good, and when I made the century to get back to 2-1I though I could go on, but it wasn’t to be.
“There is no respite though, I have to get home now and then it is a flight to Beijing on Sunday.”