Alexander Ursenbacher

Alexander Ursenbacher (born 26 April 1996) is a Swiss professional snooker player from Rheinfelden. He is Switzerland's first professional snooker player (former professional Darren Paris represented England, in the mid-1990s, before moving to Switzerland). He is often called by the nickname 'The Swiss Fish'.

Alexander Ursenbacher
Paul Hunter Classic 2014
Born (1996-04-26) 26 April 1996 (age 25)
Rheinfelden, Aargau
Sport country  Switzerland
Professional2013–2015, 2017–
Highest ranking45 (May 2021)
Current ranking 45 (as of 4 May 2021)
Career winnings£152,633
Highest break141:
2020 World Championship (qualifying)
Century breaks27
Best ranking finishSemi-finals (2017 English Open)

Having qualified for the main tour through Q-School in 2013, where he defeated Paul Wykes in his quarter-final match, Ursenbacher lost his professional status upon the expiry of his two-year tour card in 2015, however regained it two years later after defeating Jackson Page 6–4 in the final of the 2017 EBSA European Under-21 Snooker Championship.


Ursenbacher started playing snooker in 2008. He has won a host of junior titles in his native Switzerland and has won the national championship twice, due in large part to his stays at Snooker Academies in Sheffield and Gloucester and individual training by former World Championship semi-finalist Ian McCulloch.

In 2013 he turned professional by coming through Q School. After an early defeat in Event One, he played superbly throughout Event Two, losing just one frame in four matches and scoring a top break of 140. He beat nine-time Ladies' World Champion Reanne Evans 4–1, then in the final round he saw off experienced former pro Paul Wykes 4–0.[1]

Ursenbacher experienced a tough start to his debut season as a professional, losing his first seven matches. His first win came in November at the minor-ranking Kay Suzanne Memorial Cup against former world champion Ken Doherty, and he was close to following it with another defeat of a world champion in the form of Peter Ebdon in the next round, ultimately losing 4–3.[2] He failed to win another match until the season-ending World Championship, where he came back from 6–2 down to win 10–7 against David Morris.[3] He lost in the next round 10–5 to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.[2]

2014 Paul Hunter Classic

Ursenbacher qualified for the first ranking event of the 2014–15 season, the 2014 Wuxi Classic, by beating Kyren Wilson 5–4, but had to withdraw from the tournament due to being unable to enter China because of a visa problem. He defeated Martin O'Donnell 5–4 in the first round of qualifying for the Australian Goldfields Open, before losing 5–2 to Lyu Haotian and then lost a further 14 consecutive matches to be relegated from the tour as the world number 119.[4][5] Ursenbacher won five games in the first event of Q School to reach the final round where he lost 4–1 to Daniel Wells.[6][7] In the second event he was eliminated in the last 32 by Joe Roberts.[4]

Out of the three European Tour events Ursenbacher entered in the 2015–16 season, he reached the first round of the Ruhr Open, where he lost 4–3 to Rod Lawler. He was knocked out in the opening round of the first Q School event, but in Event 2 he won five matches to stand just a game away from rejoining the professional tour. Ursenbacher lost it 4–2 against Alex Borg.[8]

In March 2017 he won the EBSA European Under-21 Snooker Championship in Nicosia and with it re-qualified for the Main Tour.[9] The victory also allowed Ursenbacher to get an invitation to the World Championship qualifying rounds; he defeated Robert Milkins 10–6 and Scott Donaldson 10–9 to reach the final round (he was the only amateur present at this stage), where he lost 10–4 to Yan Bingtao.[10]

Ursenbacher recorded his best result to date by reaching the semi-finals of the 2017 English Open, defeating former world champion Shaun Murphy along the way; he lost 3–6 to Kyren Wilson. Ursenbacher's form declined after that, however, and he failed to win a single match for the rest of the season, aside from variant event Shoot Out. The next season was hardly an improvement, although Ursenbacher caused a major upset at the 2019 Welsh Open by knocking out tournament favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan in the third round; he lost his next match to Zhao Xintong. After losing his first round qualifying match for the World Championship 4–10 to Jordan Brown, Ursenbacher was left 69th in the season-end rankings, confirming his relegation.

In June 2019, Ursenbacher came through Q-School - Event 3 by winning six matches to earn another two-year card on the World Snooker Tour for the 2019–20 and 2020–21 seasons.[11]

In July 2020, he became the first Swiss player to qualify for the main draw World Championships. Ursenbacher was well beaten in the first round 10–2 by 15th seed Barry Hawkins.

Performance and rankings timeline

Tournament 2013/
Ranking[12][nb 1] [nb 2] 120 [nb 3] [nb 3] [nb 2] 69 [nb 4] 66
Ranking tournaments
European Masters Tournament Not Held A 1R 1R LQ 1R
English Open Tournament Not Held A SF 2R 1R 3R
Championship League Non-Ranking Event 2R
Northern Ireland Open Tournament Not Held A 1R 2R QF 2R
UK Championship 1R 1R A A 1R 1R 1R 3R
Scottish Open Tournament Not Held A 1R 1R 2R 1R
German Masters LQ LQ A A LQ LQ 1R LQ
Shoot-Out Non-Ranking Event A 2R 1R 2R 3R
Welsh Open 1R 1R A A 1R 4R 2R 3R
Players Championship[nb 5] DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ
Gibraltar Open Not Held MR A A A A 4R
WST Pro Series Tournament Not Held RR
Tour Championship Tournament Not Held DNQ DNQ DNQ
World Championship LQ LQ A LQ LQ LQ 1R LQ
Former ranking tournaments
Australian Goldfields Open A LQ A Tournament Not Held
Shanghai Masters A LQ A A LQ Non-Rank. NH
Paul Hunter Classic Minor-Ranking Event A 2R 2R NR NH
Indian Open LQ LQ NH A 2R WD Not Held
China Open LQ LQ A A LQ 1R Not Held
Riga Masters[nb 6] NH MR A 2R LQ 1R NH
International Championship LQ LQ A A LQ LQ LQ NH
China Championship Tournament Not Held NR LQ 1R 1R NH
World Open LQ Not Held A 1R 1R LQ NH
Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals
SF lost in the semi–finals F lost in the final W won the tournament
DNQ did not qualify for the tournament A did not participate in the tournament WD withdrew from the tournament
NH / Not Heldmeans an event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Eventmeans an event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Eventmeans an event is/was a ranking event.
MR / Minor-Ranking Eventmeans an event is/was a minor-ranking event.
  1. It shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
  2. New players on the Main Tour don't have a ranking.
  3. He was an amateur.
  4. Players qualified through Q School started the season without ranking points.
  5. The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013)
  6. The event was called the Riga Open (2014/2015–2015/2016)

Career finals

Pro-am finals: 4 (2 titles, 2 runners-up)

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2017 3 Kings Open Bjorn Haneveer 5–1
Runner-up 1. 2017 Italian Snooker Open Martin O'Donnell 2–3
Winner 2. 2019 Italian Snooker Open Rob James 3–0[13]
Runner-up 2. 2020 3 Kings Open Luca Brecel 2–5[14]

Amateur finals: 4 (3 titles, 1 runner-up)

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2012 Swiss Amateur Championship Murat Ayas 5–1
Winner 2. 2013 Swiss Amateur Championship (2) Tom Zimmermann 5–2
Runner-up 1. 2016 World Under-21 Snooker Championship Xu Si 5–6
Winner 3. 2017 European Under-21 Snooker Championship Jackson Page 6–4

Personal life

Ursenbacher is the son of a Portuguese mother from Madeira Island, living in Switzerland.[15]


  1. "Qatari And Swiss Qualify For Tour". World Snooker. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  2. "Alexander Ursenbacher 2013/2014". Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  3. "David Morrs v Alexander Ursenbacher". Love Snooker. Archived from the original on 4 May 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  4. "Alexander Ursenbacher 2014/2015". Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  5. "World Rankings After 2015 World Championship". World Snooker. Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  6. "Swiss on a Roll". World Snooker. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  7. "Quartet Earn Tour Cards". World Snooker. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  8. "Alexander Ursenbacher 2015/2016". Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  9. "U21-EM: Alexander Ursenbacher holt Titel und ist zurück auf der Maintour". Eurosport Deutschland. 2017-03-12. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  10. "Alexander Ursenbacher 2016/2017". Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  11. "Q School Event Three Winners". World Snooker. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  12. "Ranking History". Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  13. "4.Italian Snooker Open 2019". 27 January 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  14. "3 Kings Snooker Open 2020". 30 January 2020. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  15. "Alexander Ursenbacher, filho de madeirense, volta a surpreender no Snooker" (in Portuguese). Di+ario de Notícias. 20 February 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2019.