The Jester from Leicester will face Shaun Murphy Sunday after a 9-4 success over Mark Davis in the semi-final at York's Barbican Centre.
That victory was enough for him to replace Judd Trump at the top of the rankings, just a month after dropping to number two behind the 2011 UK Championship winner.
But the 29-year-old, whose only previous major titles are two Masters wins, is determined to justify that ranking by beating close friend Murphy in what should be a thrilling end to the week's action.
"To get to number one is great but if I go out there and I don't win it then to me number one doesn't mean that much," he said.
"That wasn't my aim coming here this week, I didn't know what I had to do and I didn't know how Judd had to do to keep the position. I was just coming here concentrating on winning matches and trying to get a bit of confidence back which I have been struggling with.
"Winning the tournament would mean a lot. It has been a long while since I last won a tournament and from my own standards I don't think I have won as much as I am capable of so to go out there and win one of the big two would be nice."
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