It marked the first piece of action of the new calendar year.
Championship League Group 1 wrapped up on Tuesday with Zhou Yuelong emerging as the winner in Milton Keynes.
The Chinese potter, a runner-up in the competition three years ago, won four out of his six round-robin matches to finish second after the league phase.
John Higgins’ record of five victories and one defeat saw the Scot qualify for the semi-finals in top spot, and the two-time champion and Zhou set up a repeat of the 2018 final against one another after respective last-four successes against Graeme Dott and Stuart Bingham.
In the final, which like every other encounter was played over the sprint best of five frames, Zhou edged his esteemed opponent 3-2 – making an excellent break of 131 in the deciding frame.
The 22 year-old qualifies on his first attempt then for the Winners’ Group, which takes place later in the season.
Former world champions Higgins, Dott, and Bingham all get another crack in Group 2 that commences on Wednesday.
Gary Wilson, who finished in fifth place, also receives a second chance, and the quartet will be joined by newcomers Kyren Wilson, Matthew Selt, and Scott Donaldson.
Wilson is the defending champion while Donaldson won the tournament when it was last staged utilising this format a year ago.
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Michael Holt both exit the tournament at the opening hurdle after placing sixth and seventh.
After temporarily being staged as a ranking event earlier this campaign, this edition of the Championship League reverts back to its original non-ranking status with invites to players based on their ranking.
There are various prize-money bonuses on offer for the players, from winning frames, reaching the play-off stages of each group, and for achieving the highest break.
For the latter in Group 1 of the Championship League, Bingham walked away with the £500 jackpot after compiling a 147 break on the opening day of competition for 2021 on Monday.
The maximum is Bingham’s eighth of his career, consolidating his place in fourth place on the all-time list.
Live coverage of Championship League Snooker is available throughout this week via several platforms, which you can check here.
🗣️ “John Higgins is my idol. I enjoy playing him. So it’s great to play him two times. I can learn so much from him.”
— Championship League Snooker (@CLSnooker) January 5, 2021
Featured photo credit: WST