Local favourite Mark Davis reached the semi-finals of the BetVictor English Open in Crawley with a 5-1 thrashing of Ryan Day, while Stuart Bingham scored a 5-2 victory over Ali Carter.
Hastings ace Davis is through to the sixth ranking event semi-final of his career and is aiming to reach his first final. The 46-year-old admitted before the tournament that his career will feel incomplete if he never win a ranking title, and he is now just two matches away from achieving that lifetime ambition. World number 45 Davis will face Ronnie O’Sullivan or Luo Honghao in the semi-finals on Saturday.
He went 2-0 up on Day with breaks of 66 and 95. Welshman Day pulled one back with a run of 85 before Davis took the fourth for 3-1. World number 13 Day was playing with a damaged cue tip and decided to change it for a new tip during the interval. But there was no stopping Davis as he won the last two frames with runs of 92 and 48.
“I felt really good and enjoyed the match,” said Davis. “It was a good atmosphere. I have tried to speed up my game this season rather than getting bogged down, and I played fluently today. It gives less time for negative thoughts to come in. Ryan didn’t play well today, I don’t know whether his tip was on his mind. He has been so good over the last year so I didn’t expect him to play like that.
“If I do play Ronnie next it will be a great occasion, probably the biggest match of my career. I have beaten him in the past a couple of times, but he can be unplayable. He beat me 5-1 once and I only played three bad shots.”
Bingham reached his first ranking semi-final since the 2017 European Masters and is targeting his fifth career ranking title. His next opponent will be Stephen Maguire or Noppon Saengkham.
World number 15 Bingham was off to a superb start as a 138 total clearance gave him the opening frame. The second came down to the colours, and both players missed chances at the pink before Carter potted it for 1-1. Bingham regained the lead with a 70 clearance, then world number 21 Carter replied with a run of 80 for 2-2.
Former World Champion Bingham took the fifth on the colours to lead for the third time. Carter looked set to square the match again but missed a tough red to a baulk corner on 69 in the sixth, and his opponent punished him with a clinical 70 clearance. That proved the crucial moment as Bingham wrapped up the result with a 52 in the next.
“That was probably the worst I have played all week, though I still played pretty well,” said 42-year-old Bingham. “The fifth and sixth frames were massive. Ali would have been hurting to lose those.
“Ali is a class player, you don’t get to two world finals otherwise. We have had our differences over the years but we have out that behind us, he is a good lad. If he had won today I would have wished him well.
“Hopefully I can go a step or two further. It would mean everything to me to win another title.”