Stuart Bingham reached his ninth career ranking final by beating Stephen Maguire 6-3 at the BetVictor English Open.
Basildon’s Bingham came from 3-2 down to win the last four frames against Glasgow’s Maguire to reach his first ranking final since the 2017 European Masters. He is chasing his fifth career ranking title and first since the Welsh Open in February 2017.
The 42-year-old will face Ronnie O’Sullivan or Mark Davis over 17 frames at K2 Crawley on Sunday, with the winner to collect the Steve Davis Trophy and a top prize of £70,000.
Maguire made breaks of 69 and 72 to lead 2-1 then world number 15 Bingham levelled with a run of 76. After the interval, Maguire regained the lead with a 93 before Bingham squared the match again with a 72.
A tight seventh frame went the way of 2015 World Champion Bingham as he went ahead at 4-3. In frame eight, Maguire trailed 33-56 when he missed a tough pot on the final green along the side cushion. Bingham slotted in the green to extend his lead.
World number 16 Maguire looked set to win frame nine but missed the penultimate red to a top corner at 55-35. Bingham made a cool 36 clearance to book his final place.
“I don’t feel as if I played that well, I missed a lot of easy balls,” said Bingham after reaching his first ranking final since returning from a three-month ban for breaching betting rules. “I felt a bit of pressure out there and the scoreline flattered me. When I looked at my half of the draw at the start of the week I could see it was very tough, so I’m happy to get to the final. I don’t care who I play. If it’s Ronnie it will be a big occasion but it would also be great to play Mark because he’s a mate.”
Maguire said: “I missed too many balls, I had loads of chances. If you miss those kind of balls you deserve to lose. The table had been re-covered and I couldn’t get used to it. My positional play was like a 12-year-old’s. I knew after the first frame I was all over the place. I thought I would get used to it, but I didn’t. You can’t win if you can’t control the white.
“The most important thing this week is that my sciatica has been a lot better. I will get some work done on it next week and hopefully I’ll be ok to go to the International Championship in China.”