The second ranking tournament of the 2023/24 snooker season concluded on Sunday, but it’s as you were at the top of the world rankings.
Barry Hawkins emerged with a fourth career ranking title and an £80,000 champion’s cheque to safeguard his return to the top 16.
The Englishman produced a strong performance at the Kia Metropol Arena in Nuremberg to see off the final challenge of Judd Trump.
- CLICK HERE: Barry Hawkins wins European Masters title
Hawkins had earlier recorded standout victories over World Championship finalists Luca Brecel and Mark Selby.
Success for the 44 year-old could play a key role on how the rest of his season pans out, with lots of additional benefits potentially in store.
Official World Snooker Tour rankings
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s withdrawal at the beginning of the event opened up the door for a challenge on his world number one position.
Brecel and Mark Allen both had opportunities to usurp O’Sullivan at the top of the standings.
While Allen suffered an early demise, Brecel came within two wins of becoming mainland Europe’s first world number one.
A 5-4 defeat to Hawkins in the last 16 means that the Belgian Bullet will have to wait a while longer, and O’Sullivan’s tenure is prolonged for now.
The Rocket can’t afford to skip the British Open next month with Brecel provisionally above the Englishman heading into Cheltenham.
As things stand on the current official two-year list, though, Brecel and Allen stay in second and third respectively ahead of European Masters runner-up Trump.
Selby, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, and Kyren Wilson complete the top eight ahead of John Higgins, whose semi-final run helps him leapfrog Mark Williams into ninth.
A little further down, Hawkins forces his way back into the elite bracket of the world snooker rankings and up to 13th.
The Hawk now finds himself in a strong position to gain an invitation to the prestigious Masters in January.
The other significant development sees Gary Wilson and Hossein Vafaei each surrender their status inside the top 16.
It’s particularly disappointing for Vafaei as he again suffered from visa issues before eventually travelling to Germany at the last minute, hampering his preparation for the tournament.
The £80,000 pot that Hawkins received for his European Masters triumph has taken him to top spot on the BetVictor Series rankings.
The money leader after the eight counting events this season will again receive a bumper bonus worth £150,000.
The series will include the four BetVictor Home Nations Series events, the German Masters, the European Masters, and the Shoot Out in addition to the already completed Championship League.
Last season, Robert Milkins secured a memorable triumph in the Welsh Open to finish on top of the BetVictor Series standings.
With just two ranking events played so far this term, the current BetVictor Series rankings mirror the one-year rankings list.
What is the next snooker event?
The invitational Shanghai Masters will be the next event on the calendar for the main tour – running from September 11th to 17th.
The next ranking event on the schedule will begin about a week after that with the British Open in Cheltenham.
Before that, there is another batch of qualifiers with the preliminary stages of both the English and Wuhan Opens during the first nine days of September.
Featured photo credit: WST