Zhao Xintong (born 3 April 1997) is a Chinese professional snooker player, widely considered one of the most promising upcoming snooker talents.
|Born||3 April 1997|
Xi’an, Shaanxi, China
|Highest ranking||26 (March 2021)|
|26 (as of 4 May 2021)|
2021 Championship League
|Best ranking finish||Semi-finals (2018 China Championship)|
Zhao Xintong first drew international attention in June 2012 at the Zhangjiagang Open defeating high ranking players Xiao Guodong and Yu Delu to reach the last 16 of the tournament where he narrowly lost 4–3 to Stephen Lee. Zhao would build on this success by reaching the second round of Asian Tour Events the Yixing Open and Zhengzhou Open.
As a wildcard entrant he defeated former World Champion Ken Doherty in the International Championship to reach the last 32 of a ranking event for the first time, again narrowly losing in a final frame decider 6–5 to Matthew Stevens. Having also earned he way to the last 32 of the World Open and China Open, Zhao started gaining the reputation of the Wildcard Menace.
In 2013, at the International Championship, he beat six-time World Champion Steve Davis 6–1 who later commented: "This boy was astonishingly good and better than anybody I have ever seen at that age - and that includes Ronnie O'Sullivan." He went on to reach the third round of the competition before losing 6–2 to Marco Fu, however he would go on to avenge this loss by defeating Fu in the first round of the 2014 Shanghai Masters.[deprecated source] Zhao entered the World Amateur Championship in late 2013 reaching the final, however he lost to his fellow countryman Zhou Yuelong 8–4 and thus missed out on a chance to join the world snooker main tour for the 2014–15 season.
Zhao entered several events in an attempt to qualify for the 2015/2016 season. He was narrowly defeated in the first round of the ACBS Asian Snooker Championship. Xintong won three games in the first event of Q School before losing 4–3 to Alexander Ursenbacher in the penultimate round. In the second event Zhao got extremely close to qualifying for the main tour managing to reach the final round before losing before losing 4–3 to Duane Jones in a black ball finish in the deciding frame.
Zhao's high Q School Order of Merit ranking gave him entry as a top up player to many events in the 2015–16 season. He whitewashed Stuart Carrington 6–0 to qualify for the International Championship and, despite losing 6–2 to John Higgins in the first round, his effort of 142 won the high break prize for the event. Zhao made his first appearance at the UK Championship, German Masters and Welsh Open, but was knocked out in the opening round of each. He lost in the final of the 2015 IBSF World Snooker Championship 8–6 to Pankaj Advani. It meant that Zhao won a two-year card for the main tour after Advani declined the invitation.
After whitewashing Wang Yuchen 4–0 at the English Open, Zhao met Ronnie O'Sullivan in the second round. Breaks of 130, 107 and 80 saw him lead 3–2, but he missed chances to take the win and was defeated 4–3. O'Sullivan said afterwards that Zhao's attacking style of play had reminded him of Stephen Hendry when he was a similar age. He qualified for the German Masters by beating Li Hang 5–3 and John Higgins 5–1 and a 5–0 thrashing of Akani Songsermsawad saw Zhao reach the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time. He held a narrow 4–3 advantage over Ali Carter, but lost the last two frames. Zhao was also edged out in the third round Gibraltar Open 4–3 by Mark Williams.
He dropped off the tour at the end of the 2017/18 season but entered Q School in a bid to win back his place. He subsequently won back his place by beating Dechawat Poomjaeng in the second Event final of Q School.
After a difficult 2017/18 season, this season proved to be a bounce back season. Zhao reached his first semi final in China Championship early in the season, beating the likes of Matthew Stevens, Anthony McGill, Fergal O'Brien, Mark Williams, and Barry Hawkins before losing to Mark Selby. Zhao also reached the quarter final of the Welsh Open, only losing to the eventual finalist Stuart Bingham. Perhaps the biggest achievement of the season for Zhao would be reaching the final stage of the World Snooker Championship for the first time, but lost to Mark Selby in the first round.
Zhao maintained his form from the previous season and reached another quarter final in the German Masters. He had also reached the last 16 in at least four other tournaments. This consistent performance rose his world ranking to 29th by the season's end. Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, and Alan McManus have all once suggested that Zhao would become a leading player in world snooker due to his enormous potential.
Performance and rankings timeline
|European Masters||Tournament Not Held||LQ||1R||1R||2R||1R|
|English Open||Tournament Not Held||2R||2R||2R||4R||2R|
|Championship League||Non-Ranking Event||3R|
|Northern Ireland Open||Tournament Not Held||1R||2R||1R||1R||4R|
|Scottish Open||MR||Tournament Not Held||1R||1R||3R||1R||2R|
|World Grand Prix||Not Held||NR||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||1R||2R||QF|
|Gibraltar Open||Tournament Not Held||MR||3R||3R||1R||3R||3R|
|WST Pro Series||Tournament Not Held||2R|
|Tour Championship||Tournament Not Held||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ|
|Former ranking tournaments|
|Wuxi Classic||A||WR||3R||Tournament Not Held|
|Australian Goldfields Open||A||A||A||LQ||Tournament Not Held|
|Paul Hunter Classic||Minor-Ranking Event||2R||4R||A||NR||NH|
|Indian Open||NH||A||A||NH||1R||1R||2R||Not Held|
|China Open||1R||1R||1R||LQ||LQ||LQ||LQ||Not Held|
|Riga Masters||Not Held||Minor-Rank.||2R||LQ||3R||LQ||NH|
|China Championship||Tournament Not Held||NR||LQ||SF||3R||NH|
|World Open||1R||WR||Not Held||LQ||LQ||1R||1R||NH|
|Former non-ranking tournaments|
|Macau Masters||Tournament Not Held||RR||Not Held|
|Haining Open||Not Held||Minor-Rank.||A||A||A||3R||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 Held||means an event was not held.|
|NR / Non-Ranking Event||means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.|
|R / Ranking Event||means an event is/was a ranking event.|
|MR / Minor-Ranking Event||means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.|
- It shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
- He was an amateur.
- New players don't have a ranking.
- Players qualified through Q School started the season without ranking points.
- The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013)
- The event was called the Riga Open (2014/2015–2015/2016)
- The event was called the Haikou World Open (2012/2013–2013/2014)
Pro-am finals: 1 (1 title)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Winner||1.||2017||Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games||Hossein Vafaei||4–2|
Team finals: 2 (1 title, 1 runner-up)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Team||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Runner-up||1.||2017||CVB Snooker Challenge||China||Great Britain||9–26|
|Winner||1.||2018||Macau Masters|| Barry Hawkins
| Mark Williams
Amateur finals: 2 (2 runners-up)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Runner-up||1||2013||IBSF World Snooker Championship||Zhou Yuelong||4–8|
|Runner-up||2||2015||IBSF World Snooker Championship (2)||Pankaj Advani||6–8|
- "ZHAO XINTONG TARGETS PRO PLACE BY 2015". inside-snooker.com. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- Davis 2015, p. 352.
- "Zhou Yuelong Wins IBSF World Championship". prosnookerblog.com. 14 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- "World Snooker's Q School ends as eight new professionals get tour cards at Meadowside Leisure Centre". burtonmail.co.uk. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- "Zhao Xintong 2014/2015". Snooker.org. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "Bingham Falls to Delu". World Snooker. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "Zhao Xintong 2015/2016". Snooker.org. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "Pankaj crowned with World Snooker title". IBSF. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "Chinese Duo to Turn Professional". World Snooker. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "O'Sullivan Survives Zhao Test". World Snooker. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- "Carter Wins Zhao Battle". World Snooker. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- "Zhao Xintong 2016/2017". Snooker.org. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- "China Championship Final: Mark Selby vs John Higgins". SnookerHQ. 2018-09-29. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
- "STUART BINGHAM - ZHAO XINTONG". www.eurosport.com. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
- "Selby survives scare to reach second round - best shots". BBC Sport. 2019-04-22. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
- "SNOOKER NEWS - RONNIE O'SULLIVAN AND STEPHEN HENDRY PREDICT RAPID RISE FOR ZHAO XINTONG". www.eurosport.com. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
- "Ranking History". Snooker.org. Retrieved 6 February 2011.