Stephen Hendry is guaranteed to be world No 1 next season after his first-round British Open 5-3 win over Karl Broughton in Plymouth last night.
"I can now go to Sheffield to concentrate purely on retaining my world title," said Hendry, who will head the rankings for a record eighth year in a row.
John Higgins, who could have been No1 if he won the world title and Hendry lost yesterday, suffered his second consecutive first-round defeat when he lost 5-4 to Anthony Bolsover.
Leading 3-1 at the interval Hendry lost concentration and Broughton pulled back to trail 4-3, but missed a vital black at the start of frame eight to let Hendry in for a match-winning 87.
James Wattana is struggling to retain his place among the world's top 16 after losing to another Scot, Paul McPhillips. Wattana led 4-2 but lost the final three frames in 41 minutes.
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