There was only a slim chance of him not finishing in top spot after the 2020/21 campaign.
A 10-4 victory for Judd Trump against Liam Highfield in the first round of the 2021 World Snooker Championship on Wednesday ensures that he will end this season as the world number one.
The 31 year-old has been the runaway leader at the top of the rankings list in recent times having accumulated more than a dozen ranking titles in a span of just over two years.
Trump boasted an enormous advantage of £989,000 in the official standings heading into this year’s edition at the Crucible Theatre, but there remained a slight chance for Ronnie O’Sullivan to usurp him from first place.
With £500,000 coming off Trump’s rolling two-year tally – the sum he earned by capturing the 2019 World Championship – he could have ended this term behind the Rocket had he lost his opening fixture in Sheffield and O’Sullivan subsequently went on to defend his world crown.
But with Highfield comfortably dispatched in the last 32, Trump is guaranteed at least £30,000 in prize money that will be added to his total, thus safeguarding the stranglehold he has grasped on the world number one position.
With David Gilbert his next challenge to overcome in the second round, you can avail of welcome bonuses at sporting pedia if you think he’ll live up to his favourite’s tag in the online betting.
Trump has already tasted success in five ranking tournaments this season – the English and Northern Ireland Opens, followed by further glories in the World Grand Prix, German Masters, and Gibraltar Open.
A sixth triumph would see him match his own record for a single campaign that he set during the interrupted 2019/20 campaign.
Elsewhere on day five, three-time champion Mark Williams pulled away from debutant Sam Craigie to prevail with a comprehensive 10-4 scoreline, while Barry Hawkins thumped Matthew Selt 10-3.
Only two fixtures remain unsettled in the first round with Mark Selby 8-1 ahead of Kurt Maflin overnight and seemingly on course for a berth in the last 16.
It might be harder for 2005 champion Shaun Murphy to progress, however, with the Magician trailing veteran Mark Davis 5-4 heading into their second session.
Live coverage continues on the BBC and Eurosport.
Featured photo credit: WST