Li Hang (snooker player)

Li Hang (Chinese: 李行; pinyin: Lǐ Háng, born 4 October 1990) is a Chinese professional snooker player, who made his debut on the Main Tour for the 2008/2009 season. He reached his first final in a professional event in 2012 at the Asian Players Tour Championship Event 3, where he lost 3–4 to Stuart Bingham.

Career

Early years

Li was entered into the wildcard round of the China Open as an amateur player for three consecutive years from 2006. He lost at this stage in 2006 and 2008, but in 2007 he beat Ian Preece 5–4 to reach the first round of a ranking event for the first time, where he lost 1–5 to 1997 world champion Ken Doherty. In April 2008, Li won the ACBS Asian Under-21 Snooker Championship with a 6–1 success over Li Yuan in the final. The title earned him a place on the 2008/2009 snooker tour.

Professional debut

His first tournament as a professional was the 2008 Jiangsu Classic, where he finished last in his group, although he managed to beat the 2008 World Championship runner-up Ali Carter 2–0. In qualifying for the first ranking event of the year, the Northern Ireland Trophy, Li beat Robert Stephen 5–1 and David Morris 5–4 to reach the last qualifying round, where he was defeated 2–5 by Andrew Higginson. This was the closest he came to reaching the main stage of a tournament during the season, with it ending when Li lost 9–10 to Daniel Wells in the second round of World Championship qualifying. Li finished the year ranked world number 71.

2009/2010 season

Li entered qualifying for five of the six ranking events during the 2009/2010 season, losing in the first round in the UK Championship, China Open and World Championship. At the Grand Prix he saw off Brendan O'Donoghue and David Roe both by last frame deciders, before losing 3–5 to Mark Davis. Li enjoyed his best run in qualifying for the Welsh Open, reaching the final round by eliminating Ian Preece, Jin Long and Mike Dunn, but was then beaten 4–5 by Fergal O'Brien. However, his performances were not enough for him to retain his place on tour as he finished the season ranked 81st in the world, outside of the top 64 who remained.

Wildcard years

Competing as an amateur after losing his place on the main tour, Li could not enter qualifying for any ranking events. In the next three seasons he was placed into the wildcard round for five events in his homeland of China. The best run of his career to date came in the 2011 China Open by beating Ken Doherty 5–1 in the wildcard round and Graeme Dott 5–4 in the first round. By facing Shaun Murphy in the second round he played his third former world champion in succession and led 3–1 before being edged out 4–5. He also reached the first round the following year, but was whitewashed 0–5 by Mark Selby. In 2011 and 2012 Li entered Qualifying School in an attempt to win back his place on the tour, but was unsuccessful on each occasion. In the 2012/2013 season Li entered all three of the new minor-ranking Asian Players Tour Championship events. He lost in the first round of the opener and the second round of the next, but then produced a fantastic result at Event 3. He won three matches to reach the quarter-finals and then beat compatriot Zhang Anda 4–2 and established top 32 player Robert Milkins 4–1 in the semis. In his first final in a professional event Li faced Stuart Bingham and raced into a 3–1 lead with a high break of 83 before his opponent came back to win the last three frames to edge the match 4–3. The result saw him finish fourth on the Asian Order of Merit, inside the top eight who qualified for the 2013/2014 snooker tour. It also gave him a place in the PTC Finals, but he lost 0–4 to Barry Hawkins in the first round.

Li Hang at 2014 German Masters

Rejoining the tour

Li beat Mark Joyce in his opening match of the 2013/2014 season to reach the first round of the Wuxi Classic where he made three breaks over 50 to establish a 3–0 lead over world number three Judd Trump and went on to seal a 5–2 win, the best of his career so far. He was edged out 5–4 by compatriot Xiao Guodong in the following round. At the UK Championship, Li beat David Gilbert and Andrew Higginson both by 6–4 scorelines to face world number one Neil Robertson in the last 32. Li gave the Australian a competitive game but lost 6–3, with Robertson stating afterwards that Li was much better than his ranking suggested and that his safety play had particularly impressed him. Li also qualified for the German Masters and China Open but lost 5–3 to ranking event winners Barry Hawkins and Marco Fu. Li whitewashed former world champion Peter Ebdon at the Welsh Open, before being beaten 4–1 by Anthony Hamilton in the last 64. Li was ranked world number 85 at the end of the season.

2014/2015 season

Li won four matches at the Yixing Open, before losing 4–3 to Michael Holt in the quarter-finals. He defeated Nigel Bond, David Morris and Mark Joyce all by 5–2 scorelines to qualify for the Shanghai Masters, where he was beaten 5–3 by Stuart Bingham in the first round. At the International Championship, Li thrashed four-time world champion John Higgins 6–1 and Zhao Xintong also 6–1 to reach the last 16. A third 6–1 result followed, however it was Li's opponent Ronnie O'Sullivan who recorded it to end his tournament. Compatriot Liang Wenbo eliminated Li 5–1 in the first round of the German Masters. His second last 16 match in a ranking event came at the Indian Open thanks to wins over Allan Taylor and Stuart Carrington, but he lost 4–2 to Michael White. Following 10–1 and 10–7 victories over Chris Melling and Gary Wilson he stood one win away from qualifying for the World Championship for the first time. Li held 3–0 and 8–5 leads over Carrington but would ultimately lose 10–9. He ended a season inside the top 64 in the rankings for the first time as he was 55th.

2015/2016 season

Li lost in the qualifying rounds for the first three ranking events of the 2015/2016 season. A pair of 6–5 victories over Lee Walker and Ricky Walden saw him advance to the third round of the UK Championship, where he lost 6–3 to Jamie Burnett. Li was knocked out in the second round of the Welsh Open by Joe Perry and the only other ranking event he qualified for was the China Open, but he was beaten 5–3 by Walker in the first round.

Career finals

Minor-ranking finals: 1 (1 runner-up)

Non-ranking finals: 3 (3 runners-up)

Amateur finals: 1 (1 runner-up)

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article "Li Hang (snooker player)", released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.