Day three of the Masters did not disappoint after a riveting opening two days at Alexandra Palace, as two high quality First Round matches followed the four that had gone before them.
Marco Fu was in excellent form as he contributed eight breaks over 50 from eleven frames against favourite Judd Trump, before Neil Robertson held off a strong Ali Carter response to win 6-3 in his first match of the tournament.
Fu recovers after a fast start from Trump in an Ally Pally classic
Judd Trump found his range immediately as he set the precedent against Marco Fu with an opening contribution of 102. Yet the 39-year old from Hong Kong showed glimpses of his quality with breaks of 56 and 64 in the next two tussles, though Trump literally trumped his opponent with formulations of 87 and 67 as he edged his way to a 3-0 advantage.
Many players would have been disheartened in such circumstances, though Fu has proved over the years that he is a real fighter at the table. He returned with a match-high 130 and 88 as Trump managed just eleven points in those two frames. Yet the fifth seed responded with a break of 79 as he went 4-2 ahead.
In a match with such tight margins, the game looked as if it would hinge on a telling moment and that situation arguably occured in frame seven. Trump made 53 but Fu was the man to edge success this time as a break of 58 put him right back in contention. The veteran tactician went on to win two of the next three frames as the pair exchanged centuries to set up a final frame decider.
It was at that point that Fu came into his element, producing a period of quality snooker as he did not offer Trump even a sniff at a pot. The number 14 seed sealed victory with his third century break and the fifth of an incredible contest.
Robertson holds off spirited Carter
Fu's earlier performance was a tough one to follow but Australia's finest, Neil Robertson, did his best to conquer the feat against Ali Carter. Robertson opened the scoring with a break of 85, before Carter responded with 83 of his own despite chances for both players in either frame.
As the early stages flirted with the idea of producing another classic, Robertson began to read the table and won the next three frames, with breaks including 78 and 69, as Carter managed just 32 points in response to the eighth seed's 251.
Yet Carter is one of the greatest battlers in the sport, as reflected by his personal endeavours, and he set about responding in a similar fashion to Fu. The fan favourite recorded breaks of 73 and 93 without Robertson registering a point, as Carter hauled himself back within one frame.
However, a loose break from Carter afforded Robertson the opportunity to wrench back control and he duly delivered with a well-manufactured 73. The multi-major winner then finished in style with a break of 117.