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Five Snooker players to watch in 2024

The first half of the 2023-2024 snooker season has been largely dominated by two heavyweights of the sport in Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump.

However, there are a number of players who could make their presence felt in the new year.

There is still plenty at stake this season, with the Masters and the World Championship among a long list of events still to come, so motivation levels should be sky-high.

We have picked out five players who could be worth following in 2024, a list which includes a player on a recovery mission, two cuemen on the verge of their breakthrough and a couple of up-and-coming talents who are capable of making the big time.

Don't give up on Lisowski

Jack Lisowski has contested six ranking event finals and lost on every occasion, but that is more to do with the opponents he has faced rather than his temperament and ability.

Lisowski has come up against Neil Robertson twice, Mark Selby and good friend Trump on three occasions in those title deciders, the latest of which came at the Gibraltar Open in 2021.

It has been a while between drinks for the 32 year old, but he is too talented to stay cold for long and a mediocre 2023 should have him fully revved up for 2024.

Lisowski’s scoring power and shot-making ability make him difficult to live with when he is in form, with his only real flaws being the occasional dip in concentration and a lack of self-belief.

If the Cheltenham cueman can work on those aspects he will become a regular winner on the tour, with his maiden title likely to bring about further successes.

Lisowski did make the semi-final of the Northern Ireland Open at the end of October and, having made the last four of the Masters last season, the early part of 2024 could be the time to catch him.

He faces world champion Luca Brecel in the opening round at Alexandra Palace in January.

Bingham on a recovery mission

Class is permanent and 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham will be hoping he can put a poor run of form behind him.

Bingham has slipped to 26th in the world rankings, which rules him out of illustrious events such as the Masters, while he is as low as 37th on the one-year ranking list, which means qualifying for the Players Championship and the Tour Championship will be tough.

However, Bingham’s all-round love for the game and his attacking approach means an upturn in form may just be around the corner and there will be plenty of opportunities for him to shine in 2024.

There were signs at the end of 2023 with his run to the Scottish Open quarter-final and it would be dangerous to write off the 11-time ranking event winner, who is more than capable of revitalising his career.

Yuelong can continue his rise

Zhou Yuelong has shown his qualities with runs to three ranking event finals, which includes finishing runner-up to Mark Allen at the 2022 Northern Ireland Open, and it shouldn’t be long before he gets a first taste of silverware.

This season has been one filled with promise for Yuelong, who sits 15th on the one-year ranking list following a quarter-final effort at the English Open and a semi-final run at the Scottish Open equivalent.

Yuelong needs to find the consistency to match the elite but, strong in every department of the game, he is without doubt capable of becoming an established top-16 performer.

The 25-year-old is a cool customer that scores with the best of them and the next step for him will be to win a ranking event, which should happen sooner rather than later.

Having failed to qualify for the World Championship at the Crucible since 2019, when he upset Allen in round one, that should also be his main priority for this season.

Stan in the mood to deliver

England’s leading prospect is without question teenage talent Stan Moody, who is being mentored by former world champion Shaun Murphy.

The 17-year-old has tonnes of raw ability and has the belief to go with it, something which should stand him in good stead in the coming years.

Moody made the third round of the Northern Ireland Open in October, defeating wily veteran Rod Lawler and subsequent ranking event Gary Wilson before bumping into Chinese talent Yuan Sijun, losing 4-3 in a nailbiter.

A run to the third-round of the Snooker Shoot Out followed and those recent efforts support the feeling that Moody is a top prospect worth following in 2024.

Hongyu leading the Chinese charge

There are a number of up-and-coming Chinese talents with Si Jiahui, He Guoqiang, Pang Junxu and Wu Yize all set to carve out successful careers, but Liu Hongyu could eclipse them all.

The 19-year-old won the Asia-Pacific Championship to earn a two-year tour card in May and he hasn’t taken long to make his presence felt on the main tour.

In only his third ever appearance in a ranking event in October, Hongyu impressed on his way to the semi-finals of the English Open, where his list of scalps included Joe O'Connor, Chris Wakelin, Mark Williams and Ding Junhui.

Hongyu was eventually beaten 6-2 by compatriot Zhang Anda in the last four but, given his inexperience and tender years, that is a remarkable achievement that may separate him from the rest.

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