Cao Yupeng (Chinese: 曹宇鹏; pinyin: Cáo Yǔpéng; born October 27, 1990 in Guangzhou) is a professional snooker player from the People's Republic of China. He won the 2011 Asian Under-21 Championship, thus qualifying for the professional Main Tour for the 2011/2012 season. In his first season on the circuit he reached the last 16 of the World Championship.
Cao was selected as a wild-card for the China Open twice, losing to Stuart Pettman in 2009 and Kurt Maflin in 2011. In April 2011, he beat Hossein Vafaei 7–3 in the final of the Asian Under-21 Championship, and in doing so earned a place on the main professional snooker tour for the 2011/2012 season.
First season as a professional
Cao qualified for the 2012 World Snooker Championship in his debut season after defeating Kurt Maflin 10–2, Dave Harold,10–9 (coming back from 6–9 down), Nigel Bond 10–7 and Tom Ford 10–9 in the qualifying rounds. At the venue stage he put in an outstanding performance beating Mark Allen (world number 11) 10–6 to reach the last 16. After the match Allen accused Cao of dishonesty following what he perceived as a foul shot which Cao did not own up to when he was leading 5–4. Allen also said that "blatant cheating" might be "a bit of a trait for the Chinese players". Television replays of the incident proved inconclusive with Cao stating that he did not remember the shot as he was focusing on the game. Allen later apologised for his remarks, admitting that he had "overstepped the line". Cao played Ryan Day in his next match and trailed 7–9 going into the final session, when his opponent won four straight frames in just over an hour to result in a 7–13 defeat. His run in the tournament meant that he more than doubled his previous career earnings. Nevertheless, Cao finished the season ranked world number 70, outside of the top 64 who retain their places on the snooker tour. However, he was awarded the second nomination from the Chinese national governing body for a spot in the 2012/2013 season.
Cao qualified for the second ranking event of the season, the Australian Goldfields Open by beating Paul Davison, Alfie Burden and Mike Dunn all by 5–2 scorelines. He received a bye in the final qualifying round due to Anthony Hamilton's withdrawal, and then came through a wildcard match against Johl Younger once in Australia to reach the last 32. He faced Ali Carter and raced into a 4–0 lead, before withstanding a fightback, eventually going on to win 5–3. Cao was beaten 4–5 by Martin Gould in the second round, without there ever being more than a frame between the players. He made a 143 break in the sixth frame, the highest of his career to date. A month later, Cao won three qualifying matches to reach the International Championship, played in Chengdu, in his homeland. He saw off Wang Yuchen in the wildcard round, before beating four-time world champion John Higgins in the first round, to set up a rematch with Mark Allen, following their clash at the end of last season. It was Allen who triumphed this time, with a 6–2 win.
He also came through three matches to qualify for the UK Championship for the first time. He was beaten 1–5 by Mark Davis in the first round in York. Cao could only win one more match during the rest of the season, culminating in the second round of World Championship Qualifying where he lost 7–10 to Zhang Anda, meaning he was unable to repeat last year's run to The Crucible. He was ranked world number 66 in the end of season rankings.
Cao reached the first quarter-final of his career at the 2013 Wuxi Classic, the opening ranking event of the 2013/2014 season. He qualified by defeating Paul Davison 5–1 and then saw off Michael White 5–3, world number eight Barry Hawkins 5–4 and Ben Woollaston 5–3. He faced world number one Neil Robertson and, although he led 4–3 and made five breaks above 50 in five separate frames during the match, he was edged out 4–5. This was the closest match Robertson had and he ultimately went on to win the title. Cao won the first title of his career in winning the gold medal in the Men's Singles at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games by beating Ding Junhui 4–2 in the final. Cao qualified for four more ranking events during the season but lost in the first round in each one, coming closest to progressing at the International Championship when he came back from 5–2 down against Ding to level before losing the final frame. All 128 players on the snooker tour earned automatic entry into the first round of the Welsh Open with Cao seeing off David Grace 4–2, but then lost another deciding frame in the next round this time against world number five Hawkins. Cao's world ranking went up 20 places during the season as finished it as the number 46.
Cao threatened to reach the quarter-finals of the Wuxi Classic for the second season in a row after he defeated Mark King 5–1 and Ricky Walden 5–3, stating that he done some body building, jogging and gym work to try to improve his game. He lost 5–1 to Robin Hull in the last 16. He was knocked out in the first round of the UK Championship 6–4 by Lyu Haotian and beat Craig Steadman 4–2 at the Welsh Open. He won two frames to force a decider in the second round against Mark Allen which Cao lost. Cao also qualified for the Indian Open and China Open, but was eliminated in the first round of both. He dropped 14 places in the world rankings to 60th, but inside the top 64 who remain on tour.
Cao qualified for the International Championship with a 6–2 win over Liam Highfield, but was beaten 6–2 by Tian Pengfei in the first round. He could only win a total of four matches all season to finish 72nd in the world rankings. This meant that Cao had to enter Q School and he earned his place back on the tour at the first event with five match wins.
Non-ranking wins: (1)
- HK Spring Trophy – 2011
- "Asian Championship 2011". Cue Sports India. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "2011/12 Tour Players". World Snooker. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- ^ "Allen dumped out in first round after shock defeat to rising star Cao". Daily Mail. 22 April 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- ^ "World Snooker Championship 2012: Mark Allen accuses Cao Yupeng of dishonesty". BBC Sport. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- ^ "Mark Allen issues apology after criticising Chinese players". The Guardian. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- "Day cruises to victory over Cao". Eurosport. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- "Official World Ranking List for the 2012/2013 Season" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
- "Tour Players 2012/2013". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
- ^ "Cao Yupeng 2012/2013". Snooker Database. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- "Triple-Ton Fu Is Bendigo Bound". World Snooker. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- "Murphy Breaks Ranking Drought". World Snooker. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Local Hero Robertson Beaten By Davis". World Snooker. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- "John Higgins loses to Cao Yupeng in Chengdu first round". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "Mark Allen through to last eight in China ranking event". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "UK Championship: Cao Yupeng exits York in first round against Mark Davis". Sky Sports. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "Betfair World Championship Qualifiers". Snooker.org. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "Official World Snooker Ranking List For The 2013/2014 Season" (PDF). World Snooker. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "Cao Makes Breakthrough In Wuxi". World Snooker. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- ^ "Cao Yupeng 2013/2014". Snooker.org. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- "Robertson To Meet Milkins In Semis". World Snooker. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- "Snooker — Yupeng wins singles gold at Asian Indoor Games". Eurosport. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- "Ding survives scare as big names fall in China". Eurosport. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "O'Sullivan and Robertson cruise in Newport". ESPN (UK). Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "World Snooker Rankings After the 2014 World Championship" (PDF). World Snooker. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- "Selby Suffers Liang Defeat". World Snooker. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "Hull of a Performance". World Snooker. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- ^ "Cao Yupeng 2014/2015". Snooker.org. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "Welsh Open – Mark Allen into round three but Ken Doherty and David Morris make their exits". RTÉ Sport. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "World Rankings After 2015 World Championship". World Snooker. Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "World Rankings After 2016 World Championship". World Snooker. Archived from the original on 23 June 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
- "Cao Yupeng 2015/2016". Snooker.org. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
Cao is based in Gloucester, England, during the snooker season and prefers to be known as Eric when in the UK.
Performance and rankings timeline
|Riga Masters||Tournament Not Held||MR||A|
|Indian Open||Tournament Not Held||LQ||1R||NH||LQ|
|World Open||A||A||LQ||LQ||1R||Not Held||1R|
|Paul Hunter Classic||PA||Minor-Ranking Event||2R|
|European Masters||Tournament Not Held||LQ|
|English Open||Tournament Not Held||1R|
|International Championship||Tournament Not Held||2R||1R||LQ||1R||LQ|
|Northern Ireland Open||Tournament Not Held||1R|
|Scottish Open||Tournament Not Held||MR||Not Held||1R|
|World Grand Prix||Tournament Not Held||NR||DNQ||DNQ|
|Gibraltar Open||Tournament Not Held||MR|
|Ranking & variant format tournaments|
|Shoot-Out||NH||Variant Format Event|
|Variant format tournaments|
|Six-red World Championship||A||A||NH||A||RR||A||A|
|Former ranking tournaments|
|Wuxi Classic||Non-Ranking Event||LQ||QF||3R||Not Held|
|Australian Goldfields Open||Not Held||LQ||2R||LQ||LQ||A||NH|
|Former non-ranking tournaments|
|Wuxi Classic||A||A||1R||Ranking Event||Not Held|
|Former variant format tournaments|
|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.|
|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.|