State of the various rankings after the 2021 Players Championship

Following the conclusion of the 2021 Players Championship, WST has published this update about rankings:

Rankings Update: Key Move For Higgins

John Higgins has soared to fourth place on the one-year ranking list following his outstanding victory at the Cazoo Players Championship.

Higgins beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-3 in the final on Sunday and won the tournament for the loss of just four frames, landing his first ranking title in three years.

The £125,000 top prize sees him leap from tenth to fourth, and guarantee a spot at the Cazoo Tour Championship later this month. Only the top eight players on the list (as it stands at the end of the WST Pro Series) will head to the Celtic Manor Resort for that event which runs from March 22 to 28.

O’Sullivan is overtaken by Higgins and drops from fourth to fifth, despite taking the £50,000 runner-up prize. Barry Hawkins reached the semi-finals and climbs into eighth spot with £110,500, ahead of Jordan Brown who has £100,000 in ninth.

There are just two counting events to go before the field is set for the Cazoo Tour Championship: this week’s BetVictor Gibraltar Open and the WST Pro Series. A top prize of £50,000 is up for grabs this week so all players down to Ding Junhui in 14th could potentially jump above Hawkins into the top eight.

As is stands, Hawkins and Jack Lisowski are the only players inside the top eight of the one-year list who are outside the top eight of the official two-year list.

Hawkins – on the bubble in the Cazoo Tour Championship race

Higgins climbs to fifth on the two-year list while O’Sullivan remains second, closing the gap slightly on runaway leader Judd Trump. Higgins also tops the Cazoo Series rankings with £132,500.

This week’s BetVictor Gibraltar Open is the sixth and final event in the BetVictor European Series.  The leader of that ranking list come Sunday night will earn a huge £150,000 bonus. Judd Trump leads the way with £124,500, followed by Mark Selby on £118,000. Selby must at least reach the final to have a chance of the bonus. The only other player in the running is Jordan Brown on £87,500 – he must win the title to have a chance.

Prize money for the BetVictor Gibraltar Open is:

Winner: £50,000
Runner-up: £20,000
Semi-finals: £6,000
Quarter-finals: £5,000
Last 16: £4,000
Last 32: £3,000
Last 64: £2,000
High break: £5,000
Total: £251,000

There are just three counting events remaining in the Race to the Crucible. Hawkins’ run last week moved him up from 16th to 13th and he now looks safe.

Lisowski reached the quarter-finals last week and the £15,000 pay day crucially moves him up from 17th to 16th, with Zhou Yuelong edged down to 17th. Both of those players could go ahead of 15th-placed Anthony McGill in the second phase of the WST Pro Series, as McGill has already been knocked out of that event.

For several players in the chasing pack, this week’s BetVictor Gibraltar Open is a vital opportunity to gain ground.

As it stands Ronnie is set to face John Higgins in the first round of the 2021 Tour Championship. John hasn’t entered the WST Pro Series, so his tally of points will not change before the start of that tournament.

Also, whatever happens, Judd Trump will be ranked number one, with Mark Selby and Neil Robertson ranked two and three but not necessarily in that order.

Theoretically, Ronnie, Kyren Wilson or Jack Lisowski could still overcome John Higgins in the “race to the Tour Championship”  but it’s unlikely. Ronnie having pulled out of the Gibraltar Open, would basically need to make the final of the WST Pro Series. Kyren Wilson and Jack Lisowski would need to win the Gibraltar Open and do well, very well in Lisowki case, in the WST Pro Series. However, Kyren Wilson and Jack Lisowski would overtake Ronnie if they were to win this week. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind that.