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Bingham still ‘baffled’ by defeat to Yu

STUART BINGHAM admits he is still “baffled” as to why he suffered a shock 6-4 defeat to Yu Delu at the Betway UK Championship in York on Saturday.

World No 2 Bingham started with an opening round 6-0 win over Adam Stefanow and led world No 62 Yu 4-3 before the Chinese star (pictured) took the final three frames, closing with breaks of 66 and 70, for a place in the last 32.

Ballrun said: “I’m still a bit baffled by it really. I don’t know. I’ve been playing so well for six weeks or so, so maybe I was a due a bad game. You can’t keep riding the wave.

“The hardest thing is if I had lost 6-1 – then fine. But he played just as badly as me so that’s why it is even harder to take.

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Bingham: Missing Belfast was tough – but I needed a break

STUART BINGHAM says it was a wrench to miss only his third tournament in five years this week – but admitted it was time to finally take a breather after a grueling couple of months on Tour.

Ballrun beat Neil Robertson (4-2) but lost his second match to Ding Junhui (6-4) at the Champion of Champions last week after driving to Coventry just 24 hours after arriving home from China.

And the world No 2, who had just lost to John Higgins in the China Championship final, admits the rigours of the Tour finally caught up with him against Ding and that is why he pulled out of this week’s Coral Northern Ireland Open.

He said: “The last event I missed was the China Open when my father-in-law passed away in 2014 and the one before that was the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany five years ago when my son was born. I really don’t miss many.

“But I realised at the Champion of Champions that I was just running on empty and needed to take a break so I took a week off completely and only started practicing again yesterday.

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Jet-setting Bingham ready for Coventry

STUART BINGHAM says he will be raring to go in his Champion of Champions opener against Neil Robertson – despite only stepping off a plane from the Far East 24 hours earlier!

A run to Saturday’s final of the China Championship – and an eventual 10-7 defeat to John Higgins – meant Ballrun touched down in the UK yesterday and headed home to grab a night’s sleep before he has to get on the road to Coventry to face the Aussie on Tuesday.

The gruelling schedule has been the price of success for Basildon pro Bingham this season with two semi-finals and two final appearances in the last four events.

But the world No 2 says he would have it no other way and will be ready to be a serious contender again for the coveted Champion of Champions title.

He said: “By the time I start against Neil I will have literally been home for 24 hours. I got in today and turned the telly on and they’ve just started playing.

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Bingham: Liang was inspired – but I’m happy with my game right now

STUART BINGHAM admitted he just met a man playing “inspired” snooker after another near miss at the English Open – but says he is very happy with his own solid form heading into next week’s International Championship in China.

Ballrun lost a sensational 6-5 semi-final to Liang Wenbo (pictured), and the player they call the Firecracker went on to end Judd Trump’s 14-match winning run in Sunday’s final to win his maiden ranking title and the new Steve Davis Trophy – and secure his place at the Champion of Champions (CoC).

It means Bingham – who has made a final and two semis in the last three tournaments – now needs to win in China to secure his own CoC spot, although a good run and win for a champion who has already booked a spot is likely to be enough to earn the World No 2 his place at next month’s coveted event in Coventry.

Bingham’s English Open campaign began with a remarkable 4-3 comeback win over Robert Milkins and he says that reprieve made him feel like any other success in Manchester felt like a bonus.

He said: “I think 9,999 out of 10,000 times I was out in that situation against Milkins but he got a kick, things changed and I took advantage.

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Bingham happy to be back challenging for titles again

STUART BINGHAM says it felt good to be a genuine contender for top titles again – despite two final-stage defeats during a grueling schedule in Asia last month.

After being pipped to the Six Reds crown by in-form Ding Junhui in a final at the start of the month, Ballrun lost a thrilling semi-final 6-5 to world No 1 Mark Selby (pictured) at the Shanghai Masters at the end of September.

Bingham then had to immediately fly back to the UK for two sets of qualifiers in Preston, but has now had time to reflect on his near misses in Thailand and China.

He said: “It is a bit like pulling teeth against Mark, but it was another one that just got away.

“I was gutted to come up a little bit short – especially after the close defeat to Ding at the Six Reds – but I took the positives away.

“And it is nice to just be back in the later stages of the tournaments again.

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Bingham honoured to take place in Shanghai history

STUART BINGHAM says he will be honoured this week to play his part in the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Shanghai Masters.

Bullrun won the event in 2014 with a 10-3 final victory over Mark Allen and he was asked to take part in promotional work for its special occasion this summer.

The event will run from September 19-25 and Bingham starts on Wednesday (Sep 21) against Wales’ world No 39 Jamie Jones.

World No 2 Bingham said: “I was lucky enough this year to do some promotional work with the Shanghai Amateur Masters when I was invited out to China to see some of their emerging players.

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Bingham critical of Ding call at Champion of Champions

STUART BINGHAM has criticised the decision to give World Championship runner-up Ding Junhui a spot at this year’s Champion of Champions – ahead of World Seniors champion Mark Davis.

Mark Selby’s win at the Paul Hunter Classic means there are only five tournaments left for a player to secure one of the three remaining spots out of 16 at the £100,000 event in Coventry in early November.

There are 24 qualification spots available and if one player occupies more than one – as is the case with the top two, which are occupied by defending Champion of Champions winner and UK Championship title holder Neil Robertson – another spot becomes available (the current list is set out above).

It means Davis faces a nervy wait over the next couple of months, while Ding – who lost to Mark Selby in the final at the Crucible in May – is guaranteed his place.

It also means Bingham’s chances of getting a spot through his ranking as World No 2 are over.

Ball Run explained: “A few years ago when Ding won five tournaments they only had 14 champions for 16 spots and Shaun Murphy and Mark Davis qualified through the rankings, I think.

So in early August it looked like there needed to be a few different winners from then, to stop me getting in as the world No 2. So it looked like I had a good chance.

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Bingham ready for Essex derby with Wilson

STUART BINGHAM faces ­another ‘Battle of Es­sex’ at the Paul Hunt­er Classic – and this­ time he is determined to claim the bragging rights.

Ball Run was knocked ­out by Ali Carter in ­the last ranking event as the Chelmsford-based pro went on to record a memorable title win at the World Open in China.

Carter will be at the­ Stadthalle in German­y to defend his Paul ­Hunter Classic crown ­too, but it is Southe­nd’s Sydney Wilson, 2­6, who will be Bingha­m’s first opponent ea­rly on Saturday afternoon (August 27).

Wilson is world ranke­d 87 and learnt his trade u­nder the late Vic Har­ris, who also helped ­world No 2 Bingham wi­th his game at the st­art of his career.

Bingham said: “I know­ Sydney a little bit ­and I think he practi­ses at Ali Carter’s c­lub in Witham now.

“He has had some good­ results and there wi­ll be a bit of local ­rivalry there again, b­ut I feel it is one I­ should win if I play­ my A-Game.

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Bingham: My shot at world No 1 has gone – but I’ll challenge again

STUART BINGHAM admitted his “big chance” at becoming world No 1 was ended with defeat to Ali Carter at the World Open – but Bull Run plans to work his way back into the running for top spot over the next couple of years.

Heading into the season’s third ranking event in China last month, Ball Run had a chance at becoming only snooker’s 12th-ever top ranked player if he won the title with current leading Mark Selby being knocked out early on (the full permutations are excellently explained by @ProSnookerBlog here). 

But a nip-and-tuck 5-3 loss in round two to bogeyman and eventual champion Carter, after an opening 5-4 win over Stuart Carrington, means Bingham would now need a sensational run of results to challenge again this season, with Selby about £80,000 clear on the money list (the top 10 is pictured below).

The 2015 world champion explained: “That was my big chance gone. I won in Shanghai two years ago and also at an Asian Tour event and I’ll have those points coming off so this was probably my last chance at world No 1 for the foreseeable future. I would need another two good years now to be in contention.

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‘Fernandez ban shows why corruption in snooker is never worth it’

STUART BINGHAM says Leo Fernandez’s ban is a stark reminder that corruption in snooker is “just not worth it”.

Ireland’s Ferandez, 40, has been suspended from the sport for 15 months after he admitted he deliberately played a foul shot in a World Championship qualifier in April which enabled others to profit from betting.

Bingham, 40, said: “I turned pro at the same time as Leo in 1995 and we came through together so this came as a shock to me.