Stuart Bingham reached the quarter-finals of the Dafabet Masters for the first time with a 6-4 win over Ding Junhui, though he passed up the chance of a 147.
World Champion Bingham has a surprisingly poor record at snooker’s biggest invitation event, having failed to get beyond the last 16 in six previous appearances. But the Essex cueman has now made that breakthrough and will meet John Higgins or Liang Wenbo on Friday.
However there was one moment to regret for the world number two as he failed to convert what would have been only the fourth maximum in the history of the Masters, missing the yellow on 120.
Ding won the Masters in 2011, the last time it was held at Wembley Arena, but has come nowhere near that achievement since the event moved to Alexandra Palace, losing in the first round five times in a row.
Bingham’s 147 attempt came in the third frame, with the score at 1-1. He potted 15 reds with blacks but was then faced with a difficult yellow to a baulk corner and under-cut it. A maximum would have put him in line for the £10,000 high break prize. He added the fourth frame with a run of 60 to lead 3-1 at the interval.
China’s Ding hit back with two in a row for 3-3. Bingham regained the lead in a scrappy seventh frame and he led 30-0 in the next, only for Ding to make an excellent 71 for 4-4.
Frame nine lasted 39 minutes and came down to the colours, and when Ding played a loose safety on the brown his opponent potted brown, blue and pink to edge ahead again. And when Bingham knocked in a long pot on the third-last red at 46-21 in the next, he was able to add enough points to seal the result.
“I had never made a century before in the Masters or reached the quarter-finals, so that’s two ducks broken today,” said 39-year-old Bingham. “A lot of the match was scrappy, but the 147 attempt showed that my game is there. I just got over the line in the end. Ding should have been World Champion by now but he is struggling at the moment and I took advantage. I had nearly 100 friends and family supporting me tonight, hopefully I’ll have the same for my next match and I’ll be able to play better.”