O'Sullivan to start new season as world No. 1 despite premature Crucible exit

Ronnie O’Sullivan will start the new 2023/24 snooker campaign as world No. 1 after a series of favourable results boosted his coveted position at the World Championship in Sheffield.

The seven-time winner lost 13-10 to Luca Brecel in the quarter-finals before the Belgian player progressed to claim the trophy and £500,000 first prize with an 18-15 final win over Mark Selby.

Brecel moves up from 10th spot to a career-high No. 2 in the rankings with O’Sullivan £9,500 ahead of him at the top of the standings.

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Despite winning the Hong Kong Masters and Champion of Champions in the 2022/23 season, O’Sullivan is aiming to improve his form at the ranking events.

“I’ve got to have a better year than I have this last year,” said O’Sullivan, who must wait another year to pursue a record eighth world title. “Otherwise you won’t be seeing me!”

Mark Allen had the chance to topple O’Sullivan from the summit, but his 17-15 defeat to Selby in the semi-finals denied him the chance to overtake the seven-time champion.

The Antrim man starts the season in third spot after winning the Northern Ireland Open, UK Championship and World Grand Prix this season.

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Selby consolidates fifth place in the standings after earning £200,000 for finishing runner-up to Brecel. The Leicester player sees the point drop off earned from his fourth Crucible triumph in 2021.

Selby could have returned to the top of the rankings before the World Championship, but a 10-9 defeat to Shaun Murphy in the Tour Championship semi-finals last month dashed those hopes.

Si Jiahui, 20, is the highest mover in the rankings after earning £100,000 for his run to the semi-finals before losing 17-15 to Brecel from holding an 14-5 lead on Friday evening.

He is up 44 places from 80th to 36th spot.

The first ranking tournament of the new campaign is due to begin at the end of next month (26 June-21 July) when the Championship League is staged at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

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2023/24 snooker world rankings

  • 1. Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng) – £886,000
  • 2. Luca Brecel (Bel) – £876,500
  • 3. Mark Allen (NI) – £860,500
  • 4. Judd Trump (Eng) – £556,000
  • 5. Mark Selby (Eng) – £549,500
  • 6. Neil Robertson (Aus) – £542,000
  • 7. Shaun Murphy (Eng) – £445,500
  • 8. Kyren Wilson (Eng) – £427,000
  • 9. John Higgins (Sco) – £398,500
  • 10. Mark Williams (Wal) – £391,000
  • 11. Zhao Xintong (Chn) – £387,500
  • 12. Ali Carter (Eng) – £310,000
  • 13. Robert Milkins (Eng) – £285,500
  • 14. Jack LIsowski (Eng) – £279,000
  • 15. Gary Wilson (Eng) – £260,000
  • 16. Ryan Day (Wal) – £245,500

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