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Rankings Update: Williams Storms Ahead

Mark Williams has taken top spot on the one-year ranking list thanks to his victory at the Cazoo British Open, putting himself on track to qualify for all of this season’s Players Series events.

The Welshman beat Mark Selby 10-7 in the final in Cheltenham on Sunday to win his 25th ranking title, taking the £100,000 top prize. That vaults him from fourth to the top of the list, ahead of BetVictor European Masters champion Barry Hawkins.

The top 32 (as it stands at the end of the BetVictor Scottish Open in December) will qualify for the World Grand Prix in Leicester in January, then the top 16 will progress to the Players Championship in Telford in February, and only the top 12 will earn a spot at the Tour Championship, which moves to a new home in Manchester in April.

Selby earned £45,000 as runner-up and he is up from sixth to third. Hossein Vafaei earned £20,000 as a semi-finalist and he’s up from 50th to seventh, while Xiao Guodong also reached the last four and he jumps from 13th to sixth. China’s He Guoqiang, a tour rookie, reached his first ranking event quarter-final and banked £12,000, leaping 100 places to 24th.

With seven counting events to go before the World Grand Prix field is confirmed, several major names have ground to make up, with Luca Brecel, Mark Allen, Neil Robertson and Ronnie O’Sullivan all currently outside the top 32.

On the official two-year list, Williams is up one place to ninth, while Selby moves above Judd Trump into fourth spot. O’Sullivan has been the official world number one since April 2022 and he retains top spot despite pulling out of the Cheltenham event. Luca Brecel and Mark Allen both had the chance to overtake him, but couldn’t take advantage, though they have another opportunity at this week’s BetVictor English Open,

There are just five remaining counting events in the Race to the 2024 Masters, with the top 16 at the end of the UK Championship to earn a place at Alexandra Palace in January. Vafaei’s run to the semi-finals has seen him jump from 17th to 16th and he now leads Ding Junhui by £7,500.

Williams could also earn a place at the Champion of Champions in November.

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