Ding Junhui will become the first ever Asian world number one when snooker’s world rankings are revised at the end of the Coral UK Championship.
Ding suffered a shock 6-5 defeat against James Cahill in the last 32 in York on Tuesday night, but has still done enough to take over from Mark Selby at the top of the list.
Neil Robertson could have regained the number one spot if he had beaten Graeme Dott in the last 16, but the Australian’s 6-5 defeat leaves him in second place.
Ding, who won a record-equalling five ranking titles last season, will become the 11th world number one in snooker history, after Ray Reardon, Cliff Thorburn, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Robertson, Selby and Judd Trump.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Congratulations to Ding as the first Asian player to become world number one, it’s a great achievement. The goal for him is out there now: can he win the World Championship and bring the crown back to China?
“His match last night against James Cahill was fantastic. He ended up losing but that’s what happens sometimes. The fact is, he’s not world number one by luck, he has got there on performance. He won’t win everything.”