Stuart Bingham made a successful return to the sport after his betting ban with a strong performance in beating Jimmy White 6-2 in the China Open qualifiers on Sunday.
The Englishman received a six-month suspension – three were suspended – after being found guilty of placing a large number of bets on snooker matches, including on his own games.
Although the 2015 world champion has never been suspected of actual match-fixing, it’s fair to say that Bingham’s overall image and reputation has been tarnished as a result of his actions.
It seemed peculiar then that the 41 year-old would release an article on his new website bemoaning the lost earning potential that he suffered in his enforced timeout – claiming that he had missed out on more than £150,000 in winnings.
Ill-advised comments like these are unlikely to win back many of the supporters that have gone by the wayside and Bingham would probably be better off just keeping his head down and letting his displays on the table do the talking.
Against legend White, Bingham did just that, compiling breaks of 104, 96, 81, 79, 60, and 52 in an overall confident looking comeback that sees him reach the venue stages in April.
It was important too that “Ballrun” advanced in this extremely lucrative ranking event that takes place in Beijing just before the World Championship as he is among a group of players who will be fighting it out for the last automatic Crucible spots in the top 16 over the coming months.
— Stuart Bingham (@Stuart__Bingham) January 27, 2018
Another player in a similar situation in the standings is Neil Robertson and the Australian emerged from a hard-fought encounter with Robin Hull with a tight 6-4 triumph.
China Championship winner Luca Brecel repeated that scoreline in a mostly scrappy affair with Zhao Xintong, although the pair did trade a couple of centuries late in the contest, while Michael White came from behind to edge Xu Si in a decider.
Teenager Yan Bingtao was the only competitor from the Chinese contingent to book his place in his home event on the second day of preliminary action in Barnsley, meaning that just a disappointing two players from China have reached the last 64 so far.
Elsewhere on Sunday, three-time champion Mark Williams compiled a hat-trick of tons as he hammered fellow Welshman Ian Preece 6-1 and there were straightforward victories for veterans Mark King and Mark Davis as well over Leo Fernandez and Alexander Ursenbacher respectively.
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh knocked in a 143, the highest break of the qualifiers up until now, in his 6-4 defeat of Ian Burns while David Gilbert overcame Billy Joe Castle 6-3.
Lee Walker scored just a single half-century break but managed to outlast Robert Milkins in a scrappy battle while Jimmy Robertson, Nigel Bond, Chris Totten, and Craig Steadman also all progressed to the £1 million tournament.
On Saturday, Judd Trump was the biggest casualty as he surprisingly fell in a 6-5 reverse to Jak Jones while the likes of Shaun Murphy and recent Masters champion Mark Allen enter the fray on Monday.
Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)