Bingham has won ten of the last 13 frames
Stuart Bingham won six of the eight frames in the third session to take a 14-11 lead over Shaun Murphy in the Betfred World Championship final.
Bingham is now just four frames away from winning snooker’s biggest tournament and a top prize of £300,000, while Murphy must win seven of the last ten when they resume at 7pm tonight.
Basildon’s Bingham, who turns 39 later this month and had never previously been beyond the quarter-finals at the Crucible, was rated a 50/1 outsider by Betfred at the start of the tournament, but is playing the role of giant-killer to perfection. He has already knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump, and continues to play brilliant snooker as he gets closer to the finish line. So far the standard of play in the final has been exceptional, with five centuries and 20 more breaks of 50 in the 25 frames.
Murphy, who is bidding for his second world title, a decade on from his maiden triumph, led 8-4 yesterday but has since lost ten out of 13 frames. His dream of joining Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan as the only players to have lifted the trophy on multiple occasions at the Crucible is still alive, but he may feel he needs to play almost flawless snooker tonight to get the better of an opponent on top of his game.
Trailing 9-8 overnight, Bingham won the opening frame today with a break of 87. Both players passed up chances in the next and it came down to the last red, and Murphy’s failure to convert a long pot allowed his opponent to take the lead for the first time in the match at 10-9.
In frame 20, Bingham potted 14 reds with blacks to give himself a chance of the first ever 147 in a world final, but was unlucky to finish almost touching the last red after nudging it off the side cushion, which left him unable to cut it into a centre pocket.
A break of 50 helped Bingham extend his lead to 12-9, before Murphy stopped the rot in the next with a run of 59. Bingham responded with a fine 87, then Murphy’s 84 made it 13-11. In the last frame of the session, Bingham made 57, then Murphy had a chance to counter but managed just 7 before missing a green to a centre pocket. Bingham took advantage to give himself a three-frame cushion ahead of the biggest session of snooker of his life tonight.
Murphy has been frozen out for long spells