A little over six months ago the then 21-year-old Chinese player had just around £8,000 of career earnings in his pocket.
|Picture by Monique Limbos|
This win in Chengdu wasn't how you'd have expected either. He battled back from 2-0 down to win six of the last seven frames to win 6-3.
Cao is rapidly accumulating a list of big scalps, but this is by far his biggest.
Higgins was a way away from his best form that saw him win the last major ranking event in Shanghai. But we all know how the Scot can win ugly. Cao wasn't fazed by his reputation. He took full advantage of Higgins' stuttering performance and stood up to the challenge to record a landmark win.
It takes more than just talent to rise through the ranks of the professional circuit. It takes guts and bravery. Cao has both in abundance.
He plays a great attacking game with a delicate touch and proved again why he's sure to be a star of the future.
I'll never get tired of watching or blogging about this fine young player. It's hard to believe he isn't set to become the second Chinese star name in line behind Ding. Cao has all the steely attributies that have held back Liang Wenbo and looks to be surging ahead of Xiao Guodong and making more of his potential with big performances in big matches.