Name: Liu Song
DOB: 8th December 1983
Turned Pro: 2003
Highest Ranking: #53 (2008/9)
Highest Break: 140 (2007 Grand Prix)
Career Highlights: 2007 Grand Prix Quarter Finalist, 2003 IBSF Under-21 World Championship Finalist, 2004 and 2010 Welsh Open last 32, 2012 German Masters last 32
The highlights of Liu Song’s amateur career came at the World under-21 Championships where he made the quarter-finals in 2002 before losing out to eventual winner and countryman Ding Junhui. The following year was to be even better as he reached the final only to be thwarted by Australian Neil Robertson 11-5.
Still, he had impressed enough to earn a wildcard spot on the main tour for the 2003/4 season and duly became the first Chinese player to reach the TV stages of a ranking event at the Welsh Open before going down 5-3 to Marco Fu. Despite missing the first event of the season, good performances like this saw him just about maintain a place on the main tour, entering the rankings in 90th position.
2004/5 was not quite as successful however and Liu lost his place, though by finishing top of the PIOS in 2005/6 he ensured that his absence would not be for more than a single season.
His second run on the main tour was to prove more successful however as in 2006/7 he defeated four players to reach the last 48 of the UK Championship before losing to Welshman Ryan Day, while he also made the third qualifying round of the World Championship. Although the rest of his season was to be below par, the fact that these two tournaments carried extra ranking points ensured that he had done enough to move into the rankings at number 72.
Liu at the 2011 World Championship qualifiers
2007/8 proved to be a similar story as he again won several matches in both the UK and World qualifiers to help him up to a career high ranking of 53rd position. The real highlight came at the Grand Prix however where he defeated Stephen Maguire to reach his first ever quarter-final where he lost out 5-0, again to Marco Fu.
Starting the 2008/9 season ranked 38th on the provisional list, the path appeared to be clear for Liu to continue his rise up the rankings and break into the top 48 for the first time. The campaign though proved to be a disaster as after the season-opening Northern Ireland Trophy he failed to win another match until the World Championship qualifiers six months later.
Though his win over Supoj Saenla was enough to keep him on the tour, finishing the year in 59th position on the two-year list and 77th on the one-year list was not what he had envisaged at the outset.
Beginning the season with a 5-0 whitewash at the hands of Simon Bedford, Liu’s poor form from the previous campaign looked like it would continue into 2009/10. Results did improve however as he won his opening match in the Grand Prix qualifiers before defeating Joe Jogia, Adrian Gunnell and Michael Holt to qualify for the last 32 of the Welsh Open for a second time.
Liu at the 2011 World Championship qualifiers
Unfortunately however Liu was to lose out to Neil Robertson in Newport and following opening round defeats at the subsequent China Open and World Championship qualifiers, hi’s relegation from the tour was confirmed.
Although Liu lost his place at the end of the previous season, following the suspension of John Higgins he was given the opportunity to compete on the professional circuit by virtue of being next on the one-year list the previous season. Ironically, Liu managed to put some impressive runs together during this spell, notably at the World Open when he came close to ousting Peter Ebdon before losing at the last 16 stage.
Following the resignation of Germany’s Patrick Einsle during December 2010, Liu was welcomed back onto the main tour for the remainder of the season and was to take this opportunity with both hands. As well as making it through to the venue stages of the German Masters in Berlin, Liu was to win three matches during the World Championship qualifiers before losing to Joe Perry in the final round.
These performances were enough to see him reclaim a place inside the world’s top 64 at the end of the campaign.
Liu’s best results from the first half of the 2011/12 season was to come in qualifying for the Shanghai Masters as he made it through to the final round before losing out in a decider to eventual semi-finalist Mark King. He was not able to repeat this in the PTCs however, a third round performance at PTC10 representing his best result and restricting his progress up the rankings.
Liu was however to defeat Liam Highfield, Rory McLeod and Fergal O’Brien to qualify for the venue stages of the German Masters in 2012, but his subsequent win against Soner Sari in the wildcard round in Berlin would prove to be his last victory of the season.
As a result, following a 10-9 defeat to Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo at the World Championship qualifiers, Liu’s relegation from the tour was confirmed.