Joe Perry scored an emphatic 6-1 win over world number two Stuart Bingham on Monday night to reach the quarter-finals of the Dafabet Masters for the second time in his career.
Bingham, the 2015 World Champion, became a father for the second time just two days ago and he looked fatigued as he made two many errors against ninth seed Perry, who now meets Ding Junhui on Friday evening (tickets still available – click here for details).
Cambridgeshire’s Perry has been on a patchy run of form in recent months but produced an impressive display tonight in front of an enthusiastic Alexandra Palace crowd.
He made a break of 116 to take the opening frame, then nicked the second with an excellent long pot on the respotted black, after Bingham had passed up the chance to seal the frame when he missed the final blue.
Bingham hit back with a break of 132, the highest of the tournament so far, but Perry won the next three frames with runs of 76, 77 and 107 to lead 5-1.
Both players missed chances in frame seven and it came down to the colours, and Perry cleared from blue to black to seal victory.
“I’m thrilled with my performance,” said 42-year-old Perry. “It was totally unexpected but you just never know when you’re going to hit form at this game. I’ve probably been playing some of the worst snooker I’ve ever played in my career over the past few months.
“I just thought tonight, I don’t care what happens, I might lose 6-0. But it’s amazing what can happen when you put no pressure on yourself, no expectations.
“It’s nice to win here. It’s stopped the mad thoughts I’ve had about not ever playing again. That winning feeling is great, I don’t think you can replace that with anything. I was never ever going to give up snooker, I just fell out of love with it for a while. Twenty five years in the same job is hard.
“The atmosphere here really is incredible. I never thought we could replace the Wembley Conference Centre. That place was special, but I think this is very close if not on par with it now.
“I’ll have some friends supporting me against Ding. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself again. I wasn’t going to beat myself up because I missed a couple of easy balls, which is probably what I’ve been doing. I put too much pressure on myself to play well and if you do that, there’s only one way you can go.”