China Championship: Li Hang reaches his maiden semi-final as Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Williams depart

China Championship: Li Hang reaches his maiden semi-final as Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Williams depart

Local favourite Li will take on fellow surprise semi-finalist Luca Brecel for a place in Tuesday's final.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

After an incredible second round in Guangzhou, the China Championship appeared to settle into a more familiar tale of results in the last sixteen. However, shock victories in the quarter-finals for Li Hang and Luca Brecel have set the tournament alight once again.

Li and Brecel fight for surprise final berth

Seeded 58th in the competition, Li Hang could not have asked for a more favourable last sixteen tie after stunning Neil Robertson and Michael White. The home hopeful was pitted against Matthew Stevens in a tie between the two lowest ranked players left in the competition.

Li had won his previous two matches in final frame deciders and this contest was to be no different. The 26-year old held his nerve to reach the final eight of a ranking tournament for the first time in his career.

After falling 3-0 behind to the in form Mark Williams in the quarter-finals, Li's luck had appeared to disintegrate. Yet he was able to show his steel once again tow in five consecutive frames and progress to the last four.

Belgium's Luca Brecel awaits in the semi-finals after a strong run that included a victory over Marco Fu. Yet Brecel's best performance came in the last eight against Ronnie O'Sullivan. At 4-1 down to the Rocket, Brecel was predicted to be packing his bags. Yet Brecel formulated consecutive century breaks on his way to winning four successive frames and the contest.

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Murphy and Carter top the form books

The second semi-final sees two top twelve seeds compete after impressive performances in recent days. Ali Carter had to work hard in successive final frame deciders in his opening two matches but has not looked back since then. The four-time ranking champion dropped just three frames against Mark Davis and Fergal O'Brien in the last sixteen and quarter-finals respectively.

Shaun Murphy goes into the semi-finals as the highest ranked player remaining and arguably the most refreshed. After edging through his first round match with Ken Doherty, the number eight seed was granted a walkover against the injured Anthony Hamilton. He then whitewashed Stephen Maguire before defeating Zhou Yuelong who had surprised both Mark Selby and Martin Gould on his way to the quarter-finals.

The winner of the Murphy versus Carter match will go into the final as favourite, yet nothing is guaranteed as another thrilling week of snooker has proved once again.

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