Bingham Continues Streak Over Gilbert
Stuart Bingham remains undefeated in meetings with David Gilbert, after winning 10-4 in their opening round clash at the Cazoo World Championship at the Crucible Theatre.
The pair first met on the professional circuit in 2005 and Bingham has asserted his complete dominance since then. He’s won all 12 of their clashes on the World Snooker Tour.
Bingham arrives in Sheffield in need of a run to at least the semi-finals to save his place in the top 16. He is currently projected to drop out of snooker’s elite tier, when the £100,000 he earned for reaching the Crucible semi-finals in 2021 drops off his ranking.
The Basildon cueman has had a difficult season thus far, only making one ranking quarter-final at the WST Classic. However, he did go on a fine run to the semis at the invitational Masters back in January.
World number 22 Gilbert made the semis back in 2019, but hasn’t hit the heights at the Theatre of Dreams since then, only managing to win one match.
Gilbert got off to the fastest start in yesterday morning’s opening session, leading 3-1. However, a collapse saw Bingham take the final five frames and lead 6-3 heading into today.
Tamworth’s Gilbert took the opening frame this morning, but from that point onwards he was shut out. Bingham fired in runs of 54, 55, 59 and 98 to take four on the bounce and get over the line and seal his progression. He now faces a last 16 meeting with either player of the season so far Mark Allen, or Crucible debutant Fan Zhengyi.
“I was nervy this morning and didn’t settle for a couple of frames. Once I took the second frame that settled me down. I went to the toilet, had a talk to myself and won the last three frames with a break over 50 in each. It was nice to get over the line,” said 2015 World Champion Bingham.
“I walked through into the arena and the World Championship trophy was there. I told myself that was why I am here and to get myself playing. That helped me.
“The downfall is trying to keep that distance over your opponent when you are ahead. You can try too much to protect a lead. I’ve done that in the past and learned from it. I’ve played a best of seven in my mind today and tried to get to four frames before him.
“Mark has been the player of the season. He’s seeded third for this tournament and is obviously one of the favourites. Since Christmas he hasn’t played as well, but I expect a good game no matter what. He’s probably underachieved here. He should have got his hands on that trophy. I respect him as a player and a person. We will have three days of fun and I’m sure it will be top quality snooker.”
On the other table, China’s Ding Junhui opened up a 5-4 lead over Iranian number one Hossein Vafaei.
Ding narrowly earned an automatic place at the Crucible after edging out Ryan Day to become one of the 16 seeds. He started the strongest this morning, with breaks of 56 and 72 establishing an early 2-0 lead.
Vafaei got himself on the board by taking the third on the pink and then won the fourth with a run of 66 to make it 2-2 heading in for the mid-session interval.
When play got back underway, it was Ding who came flying out of the traps with a break of 134 and he then also won the sixth to lead 4-2. However, breaks of 59 and 87 saw Vafaei take two of the last three to end just a frame behind at 5-4. They play to a conclusion tomorrow morning at 10am.