Monday, 17 September 2012

It's over to Lu

There's only one player everyone was talking about on the opening day of the Shanghai Masters.

Fourteen-year-old Lu Haotian stunned the snooker world with a 5-4 victory against seasoned professional Marco Fu in the wildcard round of the tournament, but this isn't the first time the young Chinese prodigy has made everyone take notice.

Back in July, I reported here how a new star was born when he became the youngest ever winner of the prestigious amateur IBSF World Under-21 Championship.

This put Lu on the map but his heroics at a fully-fledged professional ranking event today spread the word further. He was the talk of the baize and saw praise heaped upon him.

Within an hour of his fine victory, the complements had come gushing in.

The real deal. The next Dung Junhui. He'll go all the way. The best 14-year-old since Ronnie O'Sullivan.

These are bold, sensationalised claims fuelled by the excitement that comes from watching any young talent as good as him.

But it's difficult not to sing Lu's praises as he seems to be taking the rise to stardom easily in his stride. Lu is undeniably a cracking little potter. The task now is develop a tougher, tactical game to make him capable of competing consistently with the professionals.

This isn't easy, as Poland's young Kacper Filipiak proved when he broke onto the main tour at 15. But Lu is some three years younger than Kacper and will be buoyed by the confidence of his early successes.

There's still a long way to go for Lu to live up to some of the huge tags being placed on his head today, but he has both the ability and the time to make his talent stick.

This is just the start of Lu's journey, and there will be many more hurdles to jump before he becomes a household name in the game.

But for now, sit back and enjoy this fabulous break he made against Fu today...

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