Li Hang Benefits from Ronnie O’Sullivan Withdrawal

The Chinese competitor topped Group 32 after the “Rocket” decided to skip the event.

Li Hang won all three of his round-robin fixtures to reach the last 32 of the Championship League on Monday in Milton Keynes.

World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan was supposed to be the high-ranked player in the group, but the world number two opted to withdraw.

Instead, Li became the favourite and duly delivered with a hat-trick of triumphs, all secured courtesy of 3-1 scorelines.

Li overcame Alex Borg first and then repeated the success against Ukrainian teenager Iulian Boiko.

Amateur John Astley, who was the late replacement for O’Sullivan, still had the opportunity to usurp Li in the standing but couldn’t orchestrate the victory he required.

Li won the first two frames of their tie to guarantee his progress and ran out an eventual 3-1 winner again.

Elsewhere on the final day of what has been a lengthy stage one of the competition, Li’s countryman Tian Pengfei also made it through with the closest of margins.

Tian and Robbie Williams drew their opening contest with each other and it set the tone for what would be a tight group in general.

After securing another point each with draws against respective opponents Oliver Lines and Noppon Saengkham, Tian and Williams both won the reverse fixtures 3-1 to finish with the exact same record.

The pair both boasted five points and a plus-two frame difference, but Tian managed to qualify on the back of his terrific break of 122 that he compiled in the very last frame of his final bout with Saengkham.

Li Hang and Tian Pengfei will feature in Group H of the tournament when it resumes at the end of October, alongside Joe Perry and Mark Davis.

The likes of world number one Judd Trump, Mark Selby, John Higgins, Kyren Wilson, Shaun Murphy, and Stuart Bingham will also be returning as the third Championship League this year is played to its completion.

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