Neil Robertson won the Champion of Champions for the first time on Sunday after a 10-5 victory over Mark Allen in the final in Coventry.
It marks the Australian’s biggest title since he landed the Wuxi Classic in the summer of 2014, and will give him considerable confidence ahead of the upcoming UK Championship in York.
In an eagerly anticipated final between two of the game’s biggest stars, Robertson orchestrated an early advantage and never really relinquished his foothold for the remainder of the encounter.
The 33 year-old actually looked a little cagey at the outset but, after Allen had made a century break to counter losing a scrappy opening frame, a 53 break in the third settled the Melbourne man down before a 114 provided him with a 3-1 cushion at the interval.
He extended that to three frames upon the resumption, a lead which he was able to nurse until the conclusion of the opening session to lie 6-3 in front.
Allen needed to come out fighting in the second half of the tie but it was Robertson who instead won the first two frames and at 8-3 the game looked over.
To the Northern Irishman’s credit he battled gamely and scored his second century, a 112 to add to his earlier 103, in reducing his arrears to just 8-5.
The showdown’s final twist came in the subsequent frame, though, with both players having chances before Robertson ultimately took his to go to within one of lifting the trophy – which he duly collected in the next frame for a 10-5 success.
Robertson has had a quiet enough start to the season by his high standards but it is hard to keep somebody of his ability down for long.
The 2010 world champion is one of the sport’s best competitors, who can mix heavy scoring with dogged tactical nouse.
Winning the Champion of Champions underlines his pedigree as it is a prestigious event which rewards only those good enough to have been triumphant in tournaments over the last year.
The fact that it is also a competition staged in the UK, the traditional home of snooker, with a big crowd and coverage on ITV4 underlines its status as one the budding big ones.
It and the International Championship are laying claim to being the fourth or even fifth major and with a few more years of similar existence they might realistically enter that conversation.
For Allen, it concludes what has been a wonderful eight or nine days for the 29 year-old following his victory in the Bulgarian Open last week.
He’ll undoubtedly be disappointed to have lost in another sizable final but he played to a high standard overall and can look forward to the UK Championship now, in which he finished runner-up in four years ago.
A good week then at the Ricoh Arena. Next stop is the small invitational General Cup in Hong Kong before all the players descend on York toward the end of the month.