Stuart Bingham won the last four frames to beat home favourite Ding Junhui 6-4 and reach the final of the Bank of Communications OTO Shanghai Masters.
Ding saw his bid to defend his title end at the semi-final stage as Basildon’s Bingham proved the stronger player in the closing stages to set up a best-of-19 final with Mark Allen on Sunday.
It will be the fourth ranking final of Bingham’s career and he’ll be bidding for his second title having won the 2011 Australian Goldfields Open. He beat Allen en route to that triumph – a particularly staisfying victory for Bingham having been accussed of having “no bottle, no balls” by the Ulsterman before the match. Sunday’s final will be their first meeting since, though in fact they are no longer rivals away from the table.
Ding, who won five ranking titles last season, took the first two frames today with a top break of 69 then Bingham took two of the next three with 87 and 55. Ding won a scrappy sixth to move 4-2 ahead, but made several mistakes at the business end of the contest and scored just 28 points in the last four frames. Bingham rattled in breaks of 63, 59 and 97 to keep his sights set on the £85,000 top prize.
“I’m over the moon to get to another final,” said world number 11 Bingham. “At 3-1 down at the interval I had a chat with my manager and he just told me to stay positive. If I was going to lose, I was at least going to go for my shots. I was lucky to fluke a red in the seventh frame which helped me get back to 4-3, and after that I only missed one ball.
“I have benefitted from having 30 or so tournaments a year. This is my 20th season and I still enjoy travelling anywhere to play. I’ve won a few tournaments and hopefully I can win another tomorrow.
“Mark Allen won the Paul Hunter Classic and has reached the final here so he’s the man in form. He’s won twice in Haikou and maybe the heavy conditions here suit him because he punches the ball, a bit like John Parrott used to. It’s going to be tough but I’m looking forward to it.”
Ding said: “I missed a few during the second half of the match. When I was 4-2 up I really should have made a frame winning break, but everything changed after that miss. Then he gradually took over and I lost my advantage. I didn’t accomplish every shot I wanted, so I failed to keep my opponent under pressure.
“I lost my concentration in the second half. It was a quite a long match and I felt unconscious during the final few frames. It doesn’t matter as it happens sometimes and it can happen to every player at any time.”