STUART BINGHAM says it is great to see snooker flourishing in China after kicking off his Shanghai Masters campaign with an impressive win.
Ballrun had a 140 break as he beat 17-year-old Chinese amateur Fan Zhengyi at the game’s richest invitational this morning (Sep 10).
And Shaun Murphy’s withdrawal from the 24-man event – which has a prize fund of £725,000 – due to personal reasons means it has already guaranteed the Essex star a quarter-final spot.
Bingham, who won the Shanghai Masters in 2014 when it was a ranking event, said: “I think most of the tournaments from now on will grow in prize money so that’s great for the game and the players of course.
“But here in China, when one tournament makes the prize money big, the other tournaments seem to follow suit so the future of snooker in China is looking good.”
Ballrun arrived in China after a good display at the SangSom 6 Red World Championship in Bangkok, Thailand.
He topped group C, which contained James Wattana, Shachar Ruberg and Mark King, then beat Marco Fu 6-2 in the last 16, before a 4-6 defeat to eventual champion Kyren Wilson in the last eight.
Bingham said: It’s not nice losing but if you do to the eventual winner then it isn’t so bad.
Kyren went 2-0 up and I pulled him back to 2-2 but he won the next three and it was an up hill struggle from there.
“I got it back to 5-4 but he saw it through. But it is always a good tournament and I’ve made some great friends in Thailand so hope to go back next year.”
Bingham also admitted it was a relief to secure three important qualifier wins last month after a 4-1 Indian Open success against Chris Totten, 5-4 China Championship win over Craig Steadman, and 4-3 European Masters victory against Jamie Jones.
He added: “I was very relieved to get my season going after the disappointment of the first two tournaments.
“I played okay in three matches, scored well against Chris, and okay against Jamie Jones, but I felt that could have gone either way.
“My last match with Craig Steadman was a bit strange. He played well to go 4-2 up from 2-2 at the break and then I think I dragged him down because I haven’t got a clue how I won it eventually 5-4 on the final black.
“But those three wins have given me some momentum now for the upcoming tournaments and I look forward to go deep in few hopefully.”