Marco Fu holds off Barry Hawkins to make World Championship semi-finals
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 28/04/16 6:14pm
Marco Fu withstood one of the Crucible's finest fightbacks to book his place in the World Championship semi-finals for the second time in his career on Wednesday.
Trailing 9-1 after losing the first two frames of the morning session, opponent Barry Hawkins launched a stunning recovery to move within one frame of levelling their last-eight clash in Sheffield.
Hawkins, who had edged a nail-biting final-frame win over Ronnie O'Sullivan in the previous round, won five frames in a row as he came back to 10-9, but his opponent from Hong Kong stood strong to eventually stumble over the line 13 11.
The 38-year-old had seemed destined for the last four for the first time since 2006 after building on his 7-1 overnight advantage to move within four frames of victory.
But after Hawkins clawed back the deficit, the decisive frames became increasingly pressure-filled affairs until a nerveless break of 74 from Fu in the 24th frame - in response to a 60 from Hawkins - saw him home.
Meanwhile, 45-year-old Alan McManus reached his first Crucible semi-final in 23 years after winning the last four frames of his clash with compatriot John Higgins to also triumph 13-11.
It was a remarkable performance from the Scottish veteran, who stuck doggedly to Higgins throughout the match before producing some superb break-building in the final frames as four-times champion Higgins was first to wilt.
McManus will face Ding Junhui in the last four, while Fu will take on world No 1 Mark Selby after the Leicester man secured his own passage with a comfortable 13-8 win over rising star Kyren Wilson.
The 2014 champion had resumed Wednesday's morning session with a commanding 10-6 overnight lead, and a pair of swift half-centuries set him on his way to victory.
Despite his defeat, Wilson believes he has the ability to one day return and win the world title.
He said: "Without a doubt, I will win this event in the future. I completely believe in myself and this hasn't dampened my confidence.
"I will have a bit of a rest and will be back working very, very hard to make sure next season is even better than this one."