Williams and Bingham into Australian Final

Mark Williams and Stuart Bingham will contest the inaugural Australian Open final after respective 6-2 victories over Ken Doherty and Shaun Murphy in Bendigo.

Williams easily dismantled the challenge of Irishman Doherty in a largely one-sided contest.

The Welshman opened up a 3-1 lead at the interval and, despite a brief reprieve from his opponent in the fourth frame, the world number one comfortably completed the victory.

The German Masters champion knocked in two century breaks along the way and looked every bit the best player in the world as he floated around the table in typically nonchalant fashion.

Mark Selby had been closing the gap on Williams’ top spot in the rankings prior to this event but the 36 year-old’s efforts in Victoria will go a long way in protecting his status.

In the other semi-final, Englishman Stuart Bingham reached the first ranking event final of his career with a superb triumph over 2005 world champion Murphy.

Murphy was in surprisingly poor form and Bingham was intent in taking advantage.

Bingham’s progression to the final is just reward for the 35 year-old’s progression over the last year.

Always a talented player, Bingham had predominantly struggled on the big stage but has contested the business end of tournaments more frequently in his career recently.

He will undoubtedly find it difficult, though, to complete his maiden major title against a Mark Williams who is an ominously dangerous mood.

Nevertheless, his achievement in making it this far should be recognised and represents the opportunity that so many lower ranked players have on the circuit since the influx of new events.

However, Mark Williams will be the favourite tomorrow as he bids to claim his 19th ranking title.

The draw for the Australian Open can be viewed by clicking here.

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