STUART BINGHAM says it was a typically enjoyable trip to China even though he never really felt his game clicked before a last 16 defeat to Kyren Wilson.
The world No 3 is a firm fans’ favourite in East Asia and was happy to again sample the culture as he took part in this year’s China Open.
Ballrun, who beat Scotland’s Scott Donaldson (5-3) and Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham (5-2) before a 5-2 defeat to fellow Englishman Wilson in Beijing, admitted: “To be honest I did not feel I played that well in the first two matches even though I had little spurts of form in frames here and there.
“And I got found out really against Kyren. From 2-2 to 4-2 down I missed one chance where I was in the balls and should not have missed. And he punished me fully for it.”
STUART BINGHAM says he has been impressed with Scott Donaldson’s progress this season and is braced for a tough test against the young Scot at the China Open.
Donaldson (pictured), who has just turned 23, enjoyed the best result of his career last month when he beat China’s Zhou Yuelong 5-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Welsh Open.
And although he lost to Judd Trump, who in turn lost to Bingham in the final, Donaldson collected £20,000 in prize money which saw him move up from 77 to 67 in the world rankings.
Donaldson also beat Bingham 4-3 in a European Masters qualifier in September and Ballrun is preparing for another battle when they square off in Beijing on Monday, March 27.
Bingham said: “Him getting to the last four of the Welsh Open shows he is starting to find his feet on Tour.
STUART BINGHAM says he will be looking to take charge of his match with veteran James Wattana this week at the China Open Qualifiers.
Ballrun’s clash with one-time world No 3 Wattana, 46, is scheduled to get underway at 2.30pm on Thursday (January 26) at the Guild Hall.
The China Open will be in Beijing between March 27 and April 2 and is the last counting tournament before seeding for the World Championship is determined.
Thailand’s Wattana, a three-time ranking title winner and a pioneer for Asians in the elite snooker game, now gets wildcard places at events on the World Snooker Tour.
Bingham said: “I’m not sure how active he is now on the Tour but I’ve seen he has picked up a few results in recent years so I’ll give him every respect.
STUART BINGHAM was happy to sharpen up for his world title defence with a ranking event unanswered points record at the China Open.
Ball Run scored 547 without reply in his round one 5-3 win over Sam Baird to break the previous best of 494 by John Higgins, which came against Ronnie O’Sullivan.
And despite a 5-1 quarter-final defeat to Ricky Walden, the world No 2 returned from Beijing feeling he had taken what he needed from the event.
Bingham, who also hit the tournament’s highest break with 143, said: “Ricky got a bye in an earlier round and I think he might have been a bit fresher than me by the time we played. I also felt like the table beat me a bit because it played very differently that day.
“And I have had my battles with Ricky over the years – I tend to win one then he wins one, so I guess it was just his turn!
STUART BINGHAM is hoping his China Open campaign can set him up nicely for the defence of his world crown at the Crucible next month.
After missing out on a place at the Ladbrokes Players Championship in Manchester this week, Ball Run has decided to fly out to Beijing early to prepare for the penultimate ranking event of the season.
A last-32 defeat to Michael White at the China Open in April 2015 was far from what Bingham wanted – but a month later he won snooker’s greatest prize in Sheffield and admits he’d settle for a similar result again this year.
He said: “I’ve just done an interview with the guy doing the programme for the Crucible so I’m really starting to look forward to getting back there now.