Name: Li Yan
DOB: 17th September 1992
Turned Pro: 2011
Highest Ranking: #64 (2012)
Highest Break: 132 (2011/12 PTC3)
Career Highlights: 2011 UK Championship last 32, 2009 Shanghai Masters last 32, 2014 World Championship last 48, 2012 China Open last 48
Best known to snooker fans for his exploits as a wildcard during the ranking events staged over in China, Li Yan’s first such appearance came at the 2008 Shanghai Masters where he lost 5-1 to the experienced Anthony Hamilton.
His sole win at this stage came at the same event the following season as he edged out Gerard Greene in a decider before losing out to Ryan Day 5-3 at the last 32 stage. Since then he has lost to the likes of Andrew Higginson, Joe Delaney and Joe Perry during the wildcard round of subsequent events.
Despite these results, he was however able to come through Event Two of the 2010/11 Q School with victories against Gareth Coates, Tony Knowles, Vinnie Calabrese, Kyren Wilson and David Gray to secure a place on the main tour for the first time.
Making his début on the main tour in 2011/12, Li impressed from the outset with a win against Mark Williams in his season-opener at PTC1, with further victories against names such as John Higgins and Judd Trump to follow later in the season.
His best results from the PTC events would eventually be three last 16 runs, but it was his successful qualification for the UK Championship which would really catch the eye, victories against Stuart Carrington, Andy Hicks, Jack Lisowski and Fergal O’Brien earning him a last 32 tie with Shaun Murphy.
Li at the 2011 UK Championship qualifiers
Though he was to lose out 6-3 to Shaun in York, the 2005 world champion was suitably impressed by his performance to describe Li as the most-naturally gifted player that he had seen from China during his post-match press conference.
At the turn of the year however, Li was to suffer a blow as he was diagnosed with a heart problem and his best performance during the second half of the season was to come at the China Open qualifiers, when he was able to make it as far as the final qualifying round before losing out to Fergal O’Brien in a deciding frame.
Though his second round defeat to James Wattana at the World Championship qualifiers meant that he would finish the season ranked 68th, his performances during the PTC events were enough to see him comfortably retain his place on the main tour at the end of the season.
Following his impressive début season on the main tour, 2012/13 was to prove challenging for Li Yan, as he failed to make it beyond the third qualifying round of a full-ranking event, while his results in the PTC series were unremarkable, a couple of last 16 efforts representing his best efforts.
His season was to end with a 10-2 defeat to Jimmy Robertson at the World Championship qualifiers, having defeated Robbie Williams in the opening round.
The second season of Li’s two-year tour card would see him continue to struggle for consistent results, as he was only able to win multiple matches in a single event on two occasions.
Most notably, he was able to defeat Elliot Slessor, Dave Harold and Joe Swail at the World Championship qualifiers in April 2014 to move to within one match of a Crucible début, before he lost out 10-1 to countryman Xiao Guodong in Sheffield.
Unfortunately for Li, his run was not to be enough to see him remain on the tour at the end of the season, while he also lost out to Joe O’Connor and Ashley Carty at the two Q School events, meaning that he will not be on the circuit for the 2014/15 season.