Stuart Bingham battled past Peter Ebdon 10-5 to reach the last 16 of the Betfred World Championship.
2015 World Champion Bingham has come into this year’s event off the back of recently surrendering second place in the world rankings to Judd Trump. However, the world number three has had a strong campaign, reaching semi-finals at the Shanghai Masters, English Open, International Championship and German Masters. He’s also ended a 21-month trophy drought with a superb win at the Welsh Open, where he defeated Trump in the final.
Ebdon gained his place at the event in typically tenacious fashion. Winning an epic final frame decider with Michael Holt at at Ponds Forge. That sealed his 24th Crucible appearance, 25 years after his debut.
The opening session saw Bingham emerge with a 5-4 advantage. However, it was the Force with momentum after he won a dramatic final frame yesterday afternoon, in which he required four snookers to force a respotted black.
Bingham who came from behind to snatch a frame at the start of today’s session. Ebdon had got in first with a run of 55, but Bingham clinched the frame on the black with a clearance of 62. He won a further two frames to extend the gap to 8-4, before Ebdon took the final frame before the mid-session to pull within three.
The next two frames were typically tight, with both coming down to the final black. Bingham snatched the first to move one from victory and compiled a clearance of 49 in the next to secure the 10-5 win. He faces Kyren Wilson in the second round.
Bingham remarked: “It was very tough, Peter is a great player and a great champion. I’m over the moon to beat him 10-5, it didn’t feel like that way. I made some important clearances. Throughout the match it felt like he was potting the first red and I was playing catch up all the time. I made a massive clearance first frame today, especially with what happened last night, and that set the tone.
“It’s tough when you are trying to get some rhythm and it seems that every frame is a hard graft , that is because Peter is so determined. The ninth frame last night just proves what a tough gritty player he is.
“Even from the first ball to the last, I improved my game. I felt like I was getting stronger as the match went on. But I’ll need to improve even more if I want to get any further. I have Kyren Wilson next and he beat me a couple of weeks ago in China, hopefully I can get a bit of revenge on him.”
A disappointed Ebdon remained reflective on his impressive record of only missing one World Championship in the last 25 years.
“The 40th anniversary celebrations made me realise that it is just incredible to be part of the heritage here and the history of this place as a former World Champion. It’s going to make me even more determined to come back next year and do even better.
“There are no easy games in the World Championship. He is a former World Champion and only won it two years ago. He is a great player and I knew it was going to be tough match, but it is a game I knew I was capable of winning, I’m still capable of beating all the players on my day. It is just that I don’t seem to have as many of those wins as I would like now.”
Ding Junhui has built a commanding 7-2 advantage over compatriot Zhou Yuelong in the opening session of their first round tie.
Ding became the first Asian to feature in a World Championship final last year, where he suffered a 18-14 defeat to Mark Selby. Zhou was part of China’s B team which won the 2015 World Cup alongside Yan Bingtao.
Zhou struggled to apply pressure to Ding this morning and the 12-time ranking winner took full advantage. He made breaks of 60, 57, 54, 136, 78, 103 and 132 as he charged clear of his opponent.
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