Chinese teenager Yan Bingtao has been voted Fans' favourite to lead the next generation of snooker players. Bingtao, 17, who with his partner Zhou Yuelong, 19, won the World Cup in 2015 and came close to winning it for a second time this year, came top of a poll by the World Snooker Opinions panel website with 35% of preferences.

The site is aimed at fans, allowing them to have their say on all issues related to snooker. In exchange for their views, fans can earn points and also receive tickets to events such as the Dafabet Masters of the BetFred World Snooker Championship.

Also in the frame for the vote was Belgium's bullet Luca Brecel, who claimed 25% of the votes and got the third place, while second best were all those voted as "other," totalling a 32% of votes. Finally, Yuelong came fourth with 13% of votes.

Overseas success

Australia's Neil Robertson claimed the Hong Kong Masters during the weekend, defeating the five-time World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final with a result of 6-3.

Although a no ranking snooker tournament, it was Robertson's first win since the Riga Masters last season, which this year was won by first time ranking event winner Welshman Ryan Day.

The "Thunder from Down Under" was the last man standing from an eight man field, which included O'Sullivan, John Higgins, and Shaun Murphy.

Chinese dominance

Bingtao made his Crucible debut this time last year. In the last couple of season, the Chinese talent has emerged faster than ever. If in the 2004/2005 season Ding Junhui was the only Chinese player in the top 64, nowadays Bingtao and Yuelong have rocketed up the rankings into the top 50.

Bingtao carries the weight of a nation just like Ding did when he first won his first ranking event in 2005 in China. But it took Ding some 11 years to reach his first World Championship final in 2016, where he lost to Mark Selby. Selby also beat Ding in the semi-finals last season and claimed his third World title in four years against John Higgins in the final.

The likes of Bingtao and Yuelong can only but inspire more Chinese to burst onto the scene. Through the Amateur ranks, names as Fan Zhengyi recently claimed the IBSF World U-21 Snooker Championship in Beijing.

There are now over 20 Chinese players on the tour, and in the top 64, eight are Chinese. Although there's no guarantee Bingtao will go on to achieve what fans (especially Chinese ones) hope he will achieve, he shows much promise as he put on a great show at the Crucible this year and at the qualifiers in Sheffield.

There's a tiny bit of hope for European players as the likes of Brecel, the young Lukas Kleckers from Germany, the first professional German on the tour, continue to work their way up the ladder.