Rising Star Liu Hongyu Makes Waves: Secures Semi-final Spot at BetVictor English Open

Liu Hongyu: Picture Credit: Eurosports

In just three months of embarking on his professional snooker journey, the promising newcomer Liu Hongyu achieved a significant milestone, reaching the semi-finals of a prestigious ranking event. He secured this triumph with a 5-2 victory over Ding Junhui, widely regarded as China’s most accomplished player, at the BetVictor English Open.

At the age of 19, Liu joined the exclusive ranks of rookies since 2011 who have made it to a ranking event semi-final, a feat accomplished by only five players before him. Remarkably, he now stands just two wins away from clinching a historic ranking title in his debut season, a feat last achieved by Terry Griffiths at the 1979 World Championship.

During the ongoing week in Brentwood, Liu showcased his prowess by defeating notable opponents such as Shaun Murphy, Joe O’Connor, Chris Wakelin, and Mark Williams, before outplaying an off-form Ding Junhui. His upcoming match will be another Chinese showdown, facing Zhang Anda, who advanced by triumphing over Ronnie O’Sullivan and Zhou Yuelong.

Liu, currently ranked 89th globally, hails from Taishan in China’s Guangdong province, and turned professional earlier in the year after triumphing in the Asia-Pacific Championship. He has seamlessly transitioned to the highest echelons of the sport, demonstrating his talent and determination.

In a closely contested initial phase of tonight’s match, Liu secured the first three frames, showcasing a top break of 52. Although he had an opportunity to go 4-0 ahead, he narrowly missed a crucial red in the fourth frame, allowing the 14-time ranking event winner Ding to narrow the deficit.

After a break, Liu further extended his lead to 4-1, before Ding staged a comeback to secure another frame. In the seventh frame, despite Ding taking an early lead, Liu capitalized on critical mistakes from Ding to secure a victory with an impressive 57 clearance.

Expressing his excitement and gratitude, the young teenager said, “I’m very excited and very glad to be able to beat Ding. I didn’t expect to make it this far. I’ll try my best to get used to the arena tomorrow and play my own game.” Despite initial nervousness, Liu gained confidence as the match progressed, relishing the energetic atmosphere and the support from the spectators.

Looking ahead to the semi-finals, both Zhang and Liu are set to contest their first ranking event semi-final, with the winner progressing to the final to face either John Higgins or Judd Trump, both highly experienced opponents. The semi-final clash is scheduled for Saturday at 7pm, promising an exciting battle between these emerging talents in the snooker world.

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