Liang Wenbo (Chinese: 梁文博, pinyin: Liáng Wénbó; born 5 March 1987 in Zhaodong, Suihua, Heilongjiang) is a Chinese professional snooker player. He is left-handed and currently ranked as China's number 2 player after Ding Junhui. Liang is based at the Grove Snooker Academy in Romford, England, United Kingdom.
As an amateur, Liang's major feats were as follows:
- 2003 IBSF World Snooker Championship, men's division, quarter-finalist
- 2004 IBSF World Snooker Championship, under-21 division, semi-finalist
- 2005 International Open Series, under-21 division, no. 4 runner-up
Liang built on the positive start to his snooker career, winning an individual silver medal and a team gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games.
During the 2004/05 snooker season, he began his professional career playing on the Challenge Tour, the tier below the World Snooker Association Main Tour. He finished a lowly 104th out of 168 competitors, having only accumulated 2150 points.
Despite not qualifying for the Main Tour directly, Liang received a wildcard nomination to the Main Tour; this was because he won the 2005 IBSF World Under-21 Championship and also because not all of the players that were eligible for the Main Tour took their places. In his first ranking tournament, the Grand Prix, Liang lost in the first qualifying round to Rory McLeod 2–5. In the next ranking event, the UK Championship, he fared better, nearly whitewashing Alfred Burden in the first qualifying round 9–1 and subsequently losing in the second qualifying round to Marcus Campbell by the narrowest of margins, 8–9.
It was to be at the Welsh Open where Liang would qualify for his first ranking event, beating Sean Storey, Jamie Burnett and Rory McLeod to get into the main draw. He beat Nigel Bond in the first round of the main draw 5–0. His run was halted by Graeme Dott, Liang losing 3–5.
However at the Malta he lost in the first qualifying round to Paul Davies 3–5. At the China Open he beat David McDonnell and Matthew Couch before losing against Adrian Gunnell 3–5 in the third qualifying round. He ended the season falling at the first hurdle at the World Championship, losing to Joe Delaney 5–10 in the first qualifying round. He ended his debut season on the professional tour ranked 78th on the tour, a position which did not guarantee a place in next season's tour; however he had finished inside the top 8 of the one year list which qualified him for a place in next season's main tour.
During the 2006/07 season, Liang reached at least the second round of qualifying in every ranking event. At the Northern Ireland Trophy he beat Robert Stephen 5–0 before falling to David Gilbert 0–5 in qualifying. However, at the Grand Prix, Liang came top of his qualifying group, above more experienced players such as Gerard Greene and Barry Pinches. He finishing fourth in the group, and although he did not qualify for the next round, he did beat former world champion and world number one Stephen Hendry 3–0. At the UK Championship, he lost in the second round of qualifying to Jamie Burnett 7–9. In the following ranking event, the Malta Cup, he lost to Joe Jogia 3–5, again in the second round of qualifying. He qualified for his third ranking tournament, at the Welsh Open by beating Dene O'Kane, Joe Jogia and Mark Davis. In the Last 48, he met Nigel Bond again, this time he lost only 3–5.
He continued his run of reaching the second round of qualifying in every ranking tournament at the China Open, beating Robert Stephen before losing to Finland's Robin Hull. At the World Championship he beat Jeff Cundy before losing to Mike Dunn. After a modest season, he improved on his tour ranking by finishing in 66th place, just outside the top 64; he topped the one year ranking list to ensure his place on the WSA Tour for next season.
Liang's season started brightly; he nearly qualified for the Shanghai Masters, however again Nigel Bond beat him 5–3 in the last qualifying round preventing him from appearing in his home tournament. At the Grand Prix, he could not repeat the success of last season and failed to qualify, finishing third on frame difference. The next tournament the Northern Ireland Trophy brought more luck; he won through the qualifying beating Fraser Patrick, Joe Delaney and Rory McLeod on the way. In the last 48, he faced Gerard Greene, but lost 2–5. He did not do as well in the UK Championship; he lost in the second qualifying round to David Roe 2–9. He also failed to qualify for the Welsh Open, falling at the last hurdle losing to Andrew Norman 2–5. At his other home tournament, the China Open he fell at the first hurdle, losing in the first qualifying round to Steve Mifsud, who at the end of this season was ranked 54 places below him.
At the World Championships, Liang was the third Chinese player to qualify for the event, with victories over Ben Woollaston, Rod Lawler, David Gilbert and Ian McCulloch.
At the championship itself, he drew a first round meet with Ken Doherty, whom he defeated 10 frames to 5. Before the start of this match, Liang accidentally entered the arena with the match officials and had to scurry back. He subsequently got a warm ovation when he entered the arena for a second time after being introduced by MC Rob Walker. For every session thereafter, Walker introduced him as "Should he stay or should he go... Liang Wenbo", despite the rhyme occurring because of a mispronunciation of his name ("bo" is pronounced "bwor" in Chinese).
Liang faced Northern Ireland's Joe Swail in the last 16 of the tournament. In a humorous incident, Liang fluked a red after scattering the balls, but failed to notice and went back to his seat. To laughter, Swail pointed out his mistake and the referee called Liang back to the table. In the 23rd frame, Liang, with a 12–10 lead, prematurely celebrated winning after potting match ball, only to go on to lose the frame due to a snooker. Swail came back to level the match at 12–12. In the final frame, Liang made breaks of 34 and 30 early on. He missed the final yellow but snookered Swail, leaving the white in the jaws of the pocket. Liang played a safety and Swail snookered him behind the blue, but Liang failed to hit the ball and Swail had the white replaced. Liang then hit the yellow directly. This incident proved controversial as the referee replaced the white in the wrong position, giving Liang a better sight of the yellow. At the time, Swail nodded his assent to the referee, but in a post-match interview, complained and accused Liang of unprofessional behaviour for not pointing out the referee's error. Commentators countered that Swail should have queried the placement of the ball before Liang took his shot, and given the tension of the situation Liang could be forgiven for not thinking clearly. Liang went on to win the frame 74–34, and thus, the match 13–12.
In the quarter final Liang faced eventual champion Ronnie O'Sullivan. Liang took the first two frames with a break of 80 in the first. O'Sullivan levelled the match 4–4 by the end of the first session. In the second session O'Sullivan eased ahead, and went on to win 13–7.
Liang's run to the quarter-finals gained him 5000 ranking points, boosting his final ranking to number 40 in the world. This guaranteed that he would only have to play two qualifying matches to get into the main draw of the ranking tournaments.
Liang began the new season by qualifying for the last 48 of the Northern Ireland Trophy. At the venue he then beat Steve Davis and Peter Ebdon to reach the last 16, where he lost to John Higgins 1–5. This result lifted him to a provisional career high of 26 in the world. At the Grand Prix he reached the main draw by winning 2 qualifying matches, but then succumbed to Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round of the main draw. He then made a 147 (and three other centuries, including two total clearances of 139) in a 5–1 victory over Martin Gould in the third qualifying round of the Bahrain Championship. However, he failed to qualify for the main draw, losing 2–5 to Michael Judge.
For the two Chinese events on the 2008/2009 tour, Liang's two qualifying matches were held over until the venue stages. At the 2008 Shanghai Masters Liang defeated Atthasit Mahitthi and Mark Allen to reach the main draw, but lost to Ryan Day 0–5 in the first round. Ironically, his second qualifying match for the Welsh Open was held over to ensure that his Welsh opponent Dominic Dale played at the venue.
Liang ended the season at the World Championship, after defeating Dave Harold 10–3 in the last qualifying. He lost in the first round 8–10 against Ding Junhui.
In July 2009 Liang won his first professional title, the Beijing International Challenge beating world number #2 Stephen Maguire 7–6 in the final.
In August 2009 he made a further breakthrough when he reached the final of the Shanghai Masters. With this he became only the second Chinese player to reach a ranking final, and the fourth Asian man. He ultimately finished runner-up to Ronnie O'Sullivan .
Liang qualified for the Grand Prix but was defeated 5–2 by Peter Ebdon in the first round, winning the first two frames and losing the last five in the succession. Prior to this meeting, Liang had played Ebdon twice and won 5–1 and 5–0.
Liang reached the quarter finals of the UK Championship after defeating Ryan Day (9–3) and Mark King (9–2). He went on to lose 2–9 to John Higgins in the quarter-finals.
He didn't qualify for the Welsh Open and the China Open as he lost 3–5 against Michael Judge and 2–5 against Andrew Higginson respectively.
He qualified for the World Championships by defeating Rod Lawler 10–2. He was drawn against Ronnie O'Sullivan, but he lost 7–10. After the quarter-finals of the event it was clear, that Liang will ranked as number 16 in the next season, the only new player entering the top 16 that season.
Liang had begun the season at the Wuxi Classic, where he lost in the first round of 2–5 against Marco Fu. Liang participated at the Beijing International Challenge to defend his first professional title, but lost in the semi-finals 4–6 against eventual winner Tian Pengfei. Liang failed to qualify for the World Open, as he lost 1–3 against Andrew Higginson and lost his first round match at the Shanghai Masters 3–5 against Matthew Stevens. Having started the season inside the top 16, his results were not enough to maintain that position and he slipped out of the top 16. After this Liang lost his qualifying matches in the five ranking tournaments.
Liang also participated at the Players Tour Championship, his best performance coming at the third European event, where he reached the final, but lost 0–4 against Marcus Campbell. After 12 out of 12 events he was ranked 14th in the Players Tour Championship Order of Merit. Liang lost his first round match at the Finals 1–4 against Ricky Walden.
Liang and Ding Junhui represented China at the World Cup and they won in the final 4–2 against the Northern Ireland. During his match against Matthew Stevens in the first round of Australian Goldfields Open, Liang had a chance to make his second maximum break in his career, but he snookered himself on the yellow ball, and the break ended at 120. Liang won the match 5–4 to reach the second round, where he lost 4–5 against Ken Doherty. Liang also qualified for the Shanghai Masters, but lost in the first round 1–5 against Neil Robertson. After this Liang couldn't qualify for the next two ranking events, as he lost 2–6 against Michael White at the UK Championship, and 3–5 against Liu Chuang at the German Masters. In December 2011 Liang joined Romford-based snooker Academy and management team Grove Leisure. He beat David Gilbert and Rory McLeod both by 4 frames to 1 to reach the first round of the Welsh Open, where he faced John Higgins and was this time on the wrong end of a 4–1 scoreline. Liang narrowly missed out on a place in the World Open as he was defeated 4–5 by Mark King in the final round of qualifying. He also lost in qualifying for the China Open to the eventual winner of the event Peter Ebdon 0–5.
Liang played in 11 of the 12 minor-ranking PTC events throughout the season, with a best finish in Event 10, where he lost in the quarter-finals to Dominic Dale. He also reached the last 16 in two other events to finish 38th in the PTC Order of Merit, outside of the top 24 who qualified for the Finals.
Liang qualified for the World Championship by defeating Marcus Campbell 10–9. He had led the match 8–2 and 9–5 before Campbell took it to 9–9, at which point the match was suspended to allow players on the other tables to begin their sessions. He subsequently won the decider with a 72 break and played defending champion Higgins again in the first round. Liang was involved in another final-drame decider, but was this time on the losing end as he bowed out of the tournament on the opening day, 9–10. He finished the season ranked world number 37.
Liang lost in qualifying for both the Wuxi Classic and the Shanghai Masters to Rod Lawler. He reached the venue stage of the Australian Goldfields Open by beating Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon, but lost 3–5 in the first round against Matthew Stevens. Liang beat Anthony McGill and Andrew Higginson to qualify for the UK Championship, where he saw a 4–3 lead in the first round against Barry Hawkins turn into a 4–6 defeat. Liang failed to qualify for the next two events, but won two matches to enter the main draw of both the Welsh Open and the China Open. In Wales he lost 2–4 to local favourite Stevens in the first round, and in his homeland of China he beat Lu Ning 5–1 in the wildcard round, before losing 3–5 to Stuart Bingham in the first round. Liang had a very consistent season in the Players Tour Championship series as he advanced to, but not past, the last 16 in five of the ten events. This saw him placed 27th on the PTC Order of Merit, one spot short of making the Finals. Liang's season ended when he was beaten 6–10 by Mark Davis in the final round of World Championship Qualifying. His end of year ranking was world number 32.
In July 2013, Liang reached the final of the World Games but lost in the gold medal match 3–0 to Aditya Mehta. He had an excellent season in the Asian Tour events by reaching the semi-finals of the Zhangjiagang Open where he was defeated 4–1 by Michael Holt and at the Zhengzhou Open, where Liang won his first individual title on the World Snooker Tour. He beat Anthony McGill 4–3 in the semi-finals before whitewashing Lü Haotian 4–0 to claim the £10,000 first prize. In the full ranking events, Liang won five successive frames against defending world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the second round of the International Championship to triumph 6–4 which marked his first ever success over his opponent having lost in all four previous attempts. He then thrashed Mark Davis 6–1 to reach the quarter-finals of a ranking event for the first time in four years, where he lost 6–3 against Graeme Dott. Wenbo reached the last 16 of both the German Masters and Welsh Open, losing 5–2 to Mark Davis and 4–2 to Barry Hawkins respectively. A second final on the Asian Tour followed at the Dongguan Open where Stuart Bingham made four breaks above 50 to defeat him 4–1, but Wenbo still topped the Order of Merit to qualify for the Finals. There, he was beaten 4–2 by Yu Delu and Wenbo was defeated 10–7 by Martin Gould in the final round of World Championship qualifying.
Liang overcame Jamie Burnett 5–1 in the first round of the 2014 Wuxi Classic and then inflicted the first defeat on Mark Selby since he won the World Championship, beating him 5–3. He was knocked out in the last 16 5–2 by Joe Perry. He lost 5–3 against Robert Milkins in the opening round of the Australian Goldfields Open and in the wildcard round of the Shanghai Masters 5–1 to Yan Bingtao. Liang failed to get past the last 64 of the next two ranking events, but won two matches to reach the German Masters, where he eliminated Li Hang 5–1 in the first round. He reached the quarter-finals by coming back from 4–3 down against Stuart Bingham to win 5–4 on the final pink. He did exactly the same in edging Ryan Day 5–4 to play in his second career ranking event semi-final. There, he took four frames in a row to hold a narrow 4–3 advantage over Shaun Murphy, before losing three successive frames in a 6–4 defeat. Liang didn't drop a frame in seeing off Cao Xinlong and Gerard Greene at the Welsh Open, but was then the victim of a whitewash in the third round at the hands of John Higgins. At the inaugural World Grand Prix, Liang lost 4–3 to Graeme Dott in the second round. In the final round of World Championship qualifying he lost the last three frames against compatriot Zhang Anda to be narrowly defeated 10–9.
Liang was heavily beaten 8–2 by Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the final of the 2015 Six-red World Championship. In the third round of the UK Championship he took advantage of a collapse from Judd Trump to win 6–4 after trailing 4–1. He then saw off Tom Ford 6–5, after which Ford accused Liang of boring him off the table with slow play. Liang responded by opening his quarter-final match against Marco Fu with three centuries and hung on to edge it 6–5 and then came from 4–2 behind to reach the final by beating David Grace 6–4. It was the first final in the history of the event to feature two players from outside the United Kingdom and Liang lost it 10–5. A week later he progressed through to the semi-finals of the Gibraltar Open, but was whitewashed 4–0 by Fu.
Liang's UK final helped him break back into the top 16 in the world rankings to make his debut at the Masters and he was knocked out 6–4 by John Higgins in the opening round. He was whitewashed 4–0 by Shaun Murphy in the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix. After winning three matches to qualify for the World Championship, Liang led Judd Trump 7–3 in the first round, but went on to lose 10–8.
Ronnie O'Sullivan narrowly beat Liang 5–4 in the first round of the Shanghai Masters. He won five matches at the English Open, which included a 4–3 second round victory over Shaun Murphy, to reach the semi-finals. From 4–3 down Liang made breaks of 134 and 138 and Stuart Bingham made a 116 to lock the score at 5–5. Liang took the decider and then ended Judd Trump's 14-match winning streak in the final to win his maiden ranking title 9–6. He became the second player from mainland China to win a ranking event and thanked O'Sullivan, who he practices with daily for his help. The win also gave him entry to his first Champion of Champions where he lost 4–0 in the opening round to Mark Selby. Liang was beaten 5–4 in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Open by Yu Delu. He missed the final black to eliminate O'Sullivan 6–4 in the opening round of the Masters, instead going on to lose 6–5.
Performance and rankings timeline
|Riga Masters||Tournament Not Held||MR||A|
|Indian Open||Tournament Not Held||3R||1R||NH||A|
|World Open||A||LQ||RR||LQ||1R||1R||LQ||LQ||LQ||3R||Not Held||2R|
|Paul Hunter Classic||Pro-am Event||Minor-Ranking Event||3R|
|Shanghai Masters||Tournament Not Held||LQ||1R||F||1R||1R||LQ||LQ||WR||1R||1R|
|European Masters||A||LQ||LQ||NR||Tournament Not Held||2R|
|English Open||Tournament Not Held||W|
|International Championship||Tournament Not Held||LQ||QF||LQ||2R||3R|
|Northern Ireland Open||Tournament Not Held||2R|
|Scottish Open||Tournament Not Held||MR||Not Held||QF|
|German Masters||Tournament Not Held||LQ||LQ||LQ||3R||SF||1R||WD|
|World Grand Prix||Tournament Not Held||NR||QF|
|Gibraltar Open||Tournament Not Held||MR|
|Players Championship||Tournament Not Held||1R||DNQ||DNQ||1R||DNQ||1R|
|Ranking & variant format tournaments|
|Shoot-Out||Tournament Not Held||Variant Format Event|
|China Championship||Tournament Not Held||1R|
|Champion of Champions||Tournament Not Held||A||A||A||1R|
|Championship League||Tournament Not Held||A||RR||RR||RR||A||A||A||RR||RR|
|Variant format tournaments|
|Six-red World Championship||Tournament Not Held||A||A||A||NH||A||A||1R||F||QF|
|Former ranking tournaments|
|Northern Ireland Trophy||Not Held||NR||LQ||1R||3R||Tournament Not Held|
|Bahrain Championship||Tournament Not Held||LQ||Tournament Not Held|
|Wuxi Classic||Tournament Not Held||Non-Ranking Event||LQ||2R||3R||Not Held|
|Australian Goldfields Open||Tournament Not Held||2R||1R||A||1R||A||NH|
|Former non-ranking tournaments|
|Wuxi Classic||Tournament Not Held||RR||A||1R||1R||Ranking Event||Not Held|
|World Grand Prix||Tournament Not Held||2R||Ranking|
|General Cup||A||Tournament Not Held||F||NH||A||RR||A||RR||A||NH|
|Former variant format tournaments|
|Shoot-Out||Tournament Not Held||WD||3R||1R||A||A||1R||RV|
|Performance Table Legend|
|LQ||lost in the qualifying draw||#R||lost in the early rounds of the tournament |
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
|QF||lost in the quarter-finals|
|SF||lost in the semi-finals||F||lost in the final||W||won the tournament|
|DNQ||did not qualify for the tournament||A||did not participate in the tournament||WD||withdrew from the tournament|
|NH / Not Held||means an event was not held.|
|NR / Non-Ranking Event||means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.|
|R / Ranking Event||means an event is/was a ranking event.|
|RV / Ranking & Variant Format Event||means an event is/was a ranking & variant format event.|
|MR / Minor-Ranking Event||means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.|
|PA / Pro-am Event||means an event is/was a pro-am event.|
|VF / Variant Format Event||means an event is/was a variant format event.|
Ranking event finals: 3 (1 title, 2 runners-up)
Minor-ranking event finals: 3 (1 title, 2 runners-up)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Runner-up||1||2010||Rhein–Main Masters||Campbell, MarcusMarcus Campbell||0–4|
|Winner||1||2013||Zhengzhou Open||Lü Haotian||4–0|
|Runner-up||2||2014||Dongguan Open||Bingham, StuartStuart Bingham||1–4|
Non-ranking event finals: 2 (1 title, 1 runner-up)
Variant event finals: 1 (1 runner-up)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Runner-up||1.||2015||Six-red World Championship||Thepchaiya Un-Nooh||2–8|
Team event finals: 1 (1 title)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Winner||1||2011||World Cup (with Ding Junhui for China)||Northern Ireland||4–2|
- IBSF World Under-21 Championship – 2005