Stuart Bingham required just 43 minutes to wrap up a 13-6 defeat of Jamie Jones and reach the last eight of the Betfred World Championship.
World number 18 Bingham is aiming to make history by becoming only the third qualifier in history to win the title at the Crucible. Terry Griffiths achieved the feat back in 1979, while Shaun Murphy was the most recent qualifier to claim the trophy back in 2005. Asian number one Ding Junhui made the final as a qualifier in 2016, but was runner-up to Mark Selby.
This is the first time Bingham has required the qualifiers since 2011, after dropping out of the world’s top 16 this season. He defeated Belgium’s Luca Brecel 10-5 on Judgement Day to clinch a Crucible place.
Next up for 2015 World Champion Bingham is an intriguing showdown with Scotland’s Anthony McGill, who reached the quarter-finals courtesy of an epic 13-12 win over defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan. Basildon cueman Bingham and McGill are level in their head to head, at 2-2.
Defeat ends a positive season for Jones, who only returned to the World Snooker Tour via Q School last year. He went on a run to the semi-finals of the Scottish Open before Christmas, as well as coming through qualifying to reach the Crucible. Jones beat Li Hang on Judgement Day and recorded a fine 10-4 defeat of Stephen Maguire in round one.
Bingham came into this afternoon’s concluding session 10-6 ahead. He wasted little time in getting himself over the line. Breaks of 111, 68 and 102 saw him sweep to the first three frames of the afternoon to complete the 13-6 victory.
“Coming through the qualifiers has definitely helped me. In the first match I was confident. Normally being in the 16 you have to wait three or four weeks between the end of the season and the World Championship. Going there and getting the confidence by winning matches, you can’t buy that. I was ready more or less from the first ball in round one,” said 44-year-old Bingham.
“I’m not sure what my record is with Anthony. I remember all the losses and I’m not sure if I have actually beat him. He is a class act. He’s happy in himself with the way he is playing. It was a great last two frames to get over the line against Ronnie, so I’m expecting a tough game.
“I always think you should play to your strengths and you look at Mark Williams with his carefree attitude. I know if I have a chance to win matches it is because of my scoring. I have to take my chances and go from there.”