The top five ranked players at the start of the 2024/25 season trying to win a maiden ranking title

Credit: George Wood/Getty ImagesCredit: George Wood/Getty Images
Credit: George Wood/Getty Images | George Wood/Getty Images
Ahead of the 2024/25 professional snooker season, we look at the five highest ranked players who are aiming to claim their maiden ranking title success.

5) Zhou Yuelong - World Number 23

It’s fair to say that Zhou’s career has stalled somewhat over recent years; he has remained consistent, but is yet to take it to the next level having hovered around the 17-32 bracket across the last seven/eight years without breaking into the world’s elite top 16.

A World Cup winner (non-ranked) for China as a 17-year-old in 2015, Zhou reached his first two ranking event finals in the space of a month near the start of 2020. However, he was whitewashed 9-0 by Neil Robertson at the European Masters and defeated by Michael Holt in the one-frame Shoot Out. Later in the same year, he made the last four of the UK Championship.

Zhou’s third ranking final - and last to date - saw him go 4-1 up on home hero and defending champion Mark Allen at the 2022 Northern Ireland Open before Allen went on an eight-frame winning streak to retain.

Last season, Zhou memorably lost on a re-spotted black in the deciding frame of his semi-final against reigning champion Gary Wilson at the 2023 Scottish Open, having seen his opponent dramatically recover from requiring multiple snookers in the final frame.

That agonising defeat may have affected him, as he didn’t go past the last 16 in any of his six remaining ranking event engagements during the campaign. Aged only 26, though, Zhou is still a youngster in this sport.

4) Si Jiahui - World Number 20

The youngest player on this list, 21-year-old Si burst onto the scene just over 12 months ago following his incredible run to the semi-finals of the 2023 World Championship as a qualifier.

Two further wins away from becoming the youngest world champion of all time, Si led Luca Brecel 14-5 in the one-table set-up but suffered a heart-breaking 17-15 defeat.

A crushing blow like that may have had consequences, but after a slowish start to the 2023/24 term, Si made it to his maiden ranking event final at the 2024 German Masters where he lost 10-5 to Judd Trump.

Si qualified for the Crucible again a few months later and got the better of one of snooker’s all-time greats Mark Williams via a decider in the opening round, although he may need to refine and develop a stronger ‘B’ game before lifting silverware.

3) Jack Lisowski - World Number 19

If you ask the snooker public ‘who is the best player on tour yet to win a ranking event?’ surely the majority would say Jack Lisowski, and looking at his close calls and his natural talent, you can understand why.

Lisowski has reached six ranking event finals; all of those came within the space of just three years between 2018 to 2021. He lost them all, but he did have to face three of the sport’s most decorated title winners of all time in Neil Robertson (twice), Mark Selby (once) and Judd Trump (thrice).

It is over three years since his last final appearance, though, and last season Lisowski lost his top 16 status. However, Jack is 32-years-old - still a spritely age for the current professional landscape.

2) Jak Jones - World Number 14

Only a few weeks ago, Jak Jones wasn’t near the top five of this list, but following a monumental run to the final of the 2024 World Championship as a qualifier, he launched himself into the world’s top 16 for the first time in his career, from a pre-event ranking of 44.

A quarter-finalist on his Crucible debut 12 months earlier, Jones’ previous best ranking result was a semi-final at the 2022 Gibraltar Open.

The Welsh 30-year-old will now try and convert his Crucible heroics into results - and hopefully trophies - elsewhere on the World Snooker Tour. With his new lofty position in the world rankings, he will be seeded for events and won’t need to play in a series of qualifying matches. Potential debuts at future events in the coming months could also help him with his career trajectory.

1) Tom Ford - World Number 13

The oldest player on this list, but the highest ranked, 40-year-old Tom Ford is knocking on the door of lifting his first world ranking event trophy following the most lucrative and successful season of his career to date in 2023/24.

Following two quarter-final runs at the British and Wuhan Opens earlier in the term, Ford made the final of the 2023 International Championship in Tianjin City where he was denied by an inspired Zhang Anda on home soil.

The title match appearance was the third of Ford’s career, but his second in just over 10 months. These results helped him move into the world’s top 16 for the first time. Later in the season, Ford made his bow as a seed at the Crucible and registered his first match win there. The prize money he won in 2023/24 was by far the most he had ever amassed during a single term.

Ford does have two minor-ranking titles to his name due to PTC event triumphs in 2010 and 2011.

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