Marco Fu insisted he was no cheat today after his 13-4 demolition of fourth seed Stephen Maguire to reach the 888.com World Championship quarter-finals at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.
The Hong Kong player was involved in a controversial moment in the final frame of the second session when, on a break of 22, he committed a foul that went unpunished.
Stretching over the table to pot a red with the rest, Fu clearly tapped the blue ball with his cue after the shot but failed to acknowledge it and referee Eirian Williams did not notice.
The break became a frame-winning 47 to give Fu a 12-4 lead and after Maguire had played a bad positional shot to miss the black when the match resumed today, a fine 101 clearance wrapped it up.
“I was reading Teletext last night and it said I had fouled the blue but I honestly didn’t know I had done it,” said the 28-year-old, who will next face Matthew Stevens or Ken Doherty.
“I definitely would have owned up if I had realised. Snooker players are renowned for being sporting and we are very proud of that.
“I’ll definitely keep up that tradition in future and admit any fouls right away. But this time I honestly wasn’t sure which shot was being talked about.”
Former UK Open champion Maguire refused to make an issue of the incident and was more concerned about getting his career back on track following an extremely disappointing campaign.
“I saw the shot but wasn’t 100% sure it was a foul,” said the 25-year-old, whose defeat means only Graeme Dott remains of the five Scottish players who began the tournament.
“Even if I had been certain I don’t know if I could have jumped up and said ‘hey, what’s going on’. It’s up to the referee to see it.
“Marco obviously didn’t realise he had done it because he’s as straight as a dye. It’s just one of those things and it wouldn’t have made a difference to the result anyway.
“I’m just glad I didn’t get beaten with a session to spare. It’s payback time for me. I put on too much weight last summer and it’s cost me the season.
“Now I will have to get fitter to get back to where I was a couple of seasons ago. I don’t want to be a fat world champion.”
Earlier, Shaun Murphy told his fellow players to stop moaning about the tables after reaching the quarter-finals with a 13-7 victory over Steve Davis.
The title-holder, aiming to end the jinx on first-time champions defending the crown, admitted conditions were far from ideal but insisted players should adjust their game instead of complaining.
Organisers of the tournament have already confirmed the much-criticised tables will be re-clothed before play begins tomorrow afternoon, but Murphy feels no excuses should be made.
“The pockets are playing smaller and the cloth is quite heavy so you have to hit the ball harder,” said the Rotherham-based 23-year-old whose next opponent will be Peter Ebdon or David Gray.
“I’m amazed at how many players have moaned about the speed of the tables. You just have to adapt and get on with it.
“I find it strange that players think the tables should be the same for every tournament. You don’t get identical conditions all the time in other sports.
“I don’t know if they are making excuses but adjusting to different conditions is as much of a skill as screwing the white ball back 10 feet, and this situation just highlights the players who can adapt.”
Davis had his own perception of why the tables had proven so tricky but did not offer them as an explanation for his defeat.
“It’s not the cloth’s fault but we’ve had a lot of rain and it feels dampish in the arena,” said the 48-year-old. “The moisture in the air seems to have got into the cloth.
“I’m just disappointed with the way I started and then I played like a dog to go from 6-2 to 8-2 down. But I still enjoyed the match even though it was a kind of masochistic enjoyment.”
On the adjacent table, Mark Williams continued to look a live contender for the title as he extended his overnight 5-3 advantage against Mark Selby to 11-5.