Stuart Bingham came out on top in a tense clash with China’s Zhou Yuelong 6-4 to clinch his place in the final of the 888sport European Masters in Lommel.
The win sets up a repeat of the 2017 Welsh Open final where he faced off with 2011 UK Champion Judd Trump. On that occasion it was Bingham who was victorious in a nail-biting tie 9-8. He will be hoping for a similar outcome tomorrow.
Zhou’s first ever ranking semi-final ends in disappointment. However, the 2015 World Cup winner showcased his considerable potential with some tremendous displays this week. The 19-year-old’s most notable performance was his 4-0 demolition of Anthony McGill, which he sealed with consecutive breaks of 138 and 136.
The tension which was to come wasn’t apparent in the opening exchanges, with both players coming out of the traps firing. Two breaks of 40 and 44 from Bingham saw him control the opening frame, before Zhou hit back with runs of 54 and 101 to snatch the lead at 2-1.
From that point the game became more fragmented and nervy. They traded frames until the scores were locked at 3-3. Bingham then missed a tight cut on the last blue and allowed Zhou to clear to the black and take the lead at 4-3. The 2015 World Champion showed his class from there, claiming the following three frames to book his place in tomorrow’s final.
“Being in the final is all that matters. I said to my manager Gary, it’s just a case of whoever can get to six first. Today I was practising well and hitting the ball sweet. I got out there and the nerves hit,” said the four-time ranking event winner. “I’ll need to play a lot better than that in the final. I couldn’t seem to get over 40 today. I have to score a lot better against Judd.”
“It’s nice to be in another final. I’ll be trying my hardest just like I did there and hopefully I will come out on top.”