Yan Bingtao's season
Crucible Seeds, Ranking, Tournaments

Crucible Seed #16: Yan Bingtao’s Season

Ahead of the upcoming World Championship, let’s have a look at how the top 16 seeds have been getting on during the interrupted 2019/20 campaign.

Yan Bingtao’s season couldn’t have gotten off to a better start as he captured his maiden ranking title with victory in the Riga Masters in July.

The opening ranking tournament, which took place almost a full year ago, had a depleted field after travelling woes forced the likes of defending champion Neil Robertson and many others to withdraw.

Yan took advantage, edging Alan McManus and Li Hang in deciders en route to the final, where he outplayed surprise package Mark Joyce.

The 19 year-old became the first teenager since countryman Ding Junhui in 2007 to claim a ranking title, and it helped to continue his rapid rise that culminated in him joining the top 16 for the first time.

That said, Yan Bingtao’s season has been a little up and down since that triumph in Latvia.

Several early exits followed, and a semi-final appearance at the UK Championship proved too little too late in his quest to gain an invitation to the prestigious Masters for the first time.

However, that performance did signal his intent to finish the term strongly, with further last four appearances coming in the Welsh Open and the Shoot Out.

Source: cuetracker.net

The money earned throughout the campaign saw him comfortably qualify for the lucrative Players Championship – the second leg of the Coral Series in which invitations are given based on the one-year rankings list.

Yan impressed with victories over Kyren Wilson, Joe Perry, and Shaun Murphy as he reached the final in Southport.

World number one Judd Trump ultimately proved too difficult a task to overcome in the title decider, but Yan has shown that his overall consistency has improved.

Whether or not that remains relevant following months of inactivity remains the obvious question mark.

In his first outing upon the resumption of play in June, Yan lost to Mark Selby in the quarter-finals of the Tour Championship.

Of course, Yan could meet reigning world champion Trump again at the World Championship as soon as the second round if both manage to negotiate their opening hurdles in Sheffield.

Just one of numerous young Chinese competitors beginning to emerge as realistic threats, Yan’s greater tactical astuteness has arguably been the key difference between his separation from the likes of contemporaries Zhou Yuelong and Zhao Xintong so far.

There are some tipping Yan to go far in Sheffield this year, but a difficult quarter of the draw, that not only includes Trump but also the in-form Stephen Maguire, suggests that he might find that tricky on what will only be his second time competing in the sport’s flagship competition.

Still, it would be foolish to write him off completely, and in fact his all-round game could be just the winning formula for the long 17-day slog.

Featured photo credit: WST


  1. Yes Yan Bingtao’s achievements are considerable, especially considering how young is still is. In the Tour Championship he was 10 years younger than the next player, and the average age of the others was 37. In any other sport he would be heavily promoted as an exciting new talent.

    But not in snooker. Most of the commentators and pundits, especially O’Sullivan and Hendry (the greatest names in the sport) have dismissed Yan as ‘uninspiring’, ‘a plodder’. Most journalists ‘forgot’ to mention Yan in their end-of-year or end-of-decade summaries. Given Yan’s lead over his rivals, the conclusion must be ‘there are no young players’, at least worth watching. The implications of this are pretty serious to the future popularity of the game.

    For me Yan is still not comfortable on the main table. He is actually a heavy scorer, but tends to go into his shell in the big matches. This is not yet a worry given his lack of experience. He stayed in Sheffield with his girlfriend during the lockdown, but unfortunately wasn’t able to practice at Victoria’s academy. In the Tour Championship he was very cautious, playing most shots plain-ball. I suspect he’s a player who needs a lot of practice behind him to feel confident. In which case the Crucible first-round might be difficult, against someone has won at least two qualifier matches. He will need a good start.

    As always, thanks for good series.

    • O’Sullivan and Hendry would know better than most, but I do think they are quick to dismiss him. He definitely is more of an all-round threat, but that didn’t stop the likes of Davis, Higgins, and Selby. If Yan gets his scoring together, and if he picks up his pace a little bit, I think he could be a major threat in years to come. Probably not this year in Sheffield.

      The clubs not opening is a big issue for a lot of the players really. Like you said, qualifiers could end up having quite a big head start.

  2. Jay Brannon

    Hi. Are you going to complete your series of season reviews?

  3. Pingback: Crucible Seed #16: Yan Bingtao’s Season – Bouncing Bill

  4. Duncan birss

    I honestly think he looked more of a threat about 3 or 4 years ago , I was at the crucible when Murphy beat him 10 8 and he was very good , playing as he does now I think if he gets a decent qualifier he will go out 1st round

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