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Marco Phew: Hong Kong snooker star survives late rally to edge China’s Mei Xiwen in UK Championship

Hong Kong snooker star Marco Fu survived a comeback from world No 90 Mei Xiwen to progress to the last 16 of the UK Championship in York, England on Monday night.

Fu appeared to be making light work of his mainland opponent as he comfortably moved into a 3-0 lead with breaks of 51 and 50 following a fantastic opening frame break of 128 by the Happy Valley native.

But Mei launched a fightback as he took the next two frames to drag himself back into the match.

Fu regrouped to edge a close sixth frame before a solid break of 88 gave 34-year-old Mei the seventh frame.

Fu responded with an 86 break of his own to move into a 5-3 lead in the best-of-11 match. But Wei wasn’t finished yet and comfortably took the ninth frame.

Fu managed to wrap up the win in the 10th when, needing to clear the table to claim a narrow frame, he won 59-58 to complete a 6-4 win over the 84th seed.

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The win sets up a round four meeting with either 61st-ranked Englishman Oliver Lines or 36th-ranked English player Jimmy Robertson for world No 15 Fu.

Elsewhere on Monday, former world champion John Higgings continued his impressive form with a 6-2 win over England’s Ben Woollaston, while world number one Mark Selby enjoyed a brisk run-out in a hugely impressive 6-1 win over 31st seed Robert Milkins.

Ronnie O’Sullivan was at his sparkling best as he overcame Cyprus’ Michael Georgiou 6-1 with breaks of 82, 84, 67 and 69 along the way.

Only China can save snooker, says Ronnie O’Sullivan

O’Sullivan conceded his first frame of the tournament in the opener against Georgiou but bounced back winning six on the trot.

“I am pleased with how I responded to going behind,” said the five-time UK champion.

“I think I could do with a close match that could go either way – a good tough match. Maybe a 6-4 or a 6-3 win would be beneficial,” he added.

London-born Georgiou claimed O’Sullivan’s current form is “superhuman” and said he doubted anyone would be able to beat the former world number one in York this week.

O’Sullivan will now face either Matthew Stevens or Joe Perry in round four.