Judd Trump was earmarked for the world number one ranking from an early age and on Friday he reflected on "a long road" to attain that status as he reached the top rung and another major final.
The 23-year-old from Bristol made a 147 maximum break in an age-group event as a 14-year-old and has been a professional since the age of 16, but making the transition from being an all-conquering junior to the paid ranks was not the easiest step.
He has now defeated Peter Ebdon to move into the International Championship final and overtaken Mark Selby as world number one and he said on worldsnooker.com: "It's a proud moment to get to number one. It has been a long road to get there."
It took Trump several years to bed down as a professional, and it was almost out of the blue in April 2011 when, as a qualifier, he lifted the China Open.
Trump has not looked back, going on to reach the World Championship final a month later and then landing the UK Championship title in York in December of last year.
He stands on the brink of another major trophy, having swatted aside Ebdon 9-1 in Chengdu, China, to set up a showdown on Sunday with Neil Robertson or Shaun Murphy, who contest the second semi-final on Saturday.
Trump replaces Selby, a second-round loser this week, to join the club of number-one players which is made up by Ray Reardon, Cliff Thorburn, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Robertson. The ranking system was put in place in 1976.
He built up a 7-1 lead by the interval against Ebdon, whose only frame was secured by the only century of the match, a 106 break in the fourth frame. And with Ebdon missing too many balls throughout the match, Trump had little trouble wrapping up his emphatic win.
"I played well in the first session and was able to build a good lead and save some energy," Trump added.
Seven breaks above 50 from Trump did the damage, and although his best run was one of 68 it was an impressive display from a player who now has the title and a winner's cheque for £125,000 in his sights.