Stuart Bingham reached the last 16 of the World Snooker Championship with a 10-4 victory over David Gilbert on Sunday.
The 2015 world champion wasn’t at his very best but solidly took advantage of a sloppy performance from his fellow Englishman in Sheffield.
After taking the opening frame with a century break, Bingham lost the following three to trail at the first mid-session interval.
But Gilbert’s form deteriorated badly after that, and Bingham picked up the pieces for a routine triumph.
“I started off flying colours. First frame, a hundred break – you can’t get any better than that,” Stuart Bingham said in a post-match interview.
“Dave showed his class and came back at me just as strong, if not stronger, to not miss a ball and go 3-1 up.”
“The break came at a good time. I regrouped and tried to be patient, slowed the frames down and tried to win no matter what.
“I won a couple of frames to draw level and opened my shoulders up again, made a couple of breaks to be a 6-3 lead.
“This morning was very nervy and I didn’t really settle for a couple of frames, but once I drew that mini-session 1-1, it sort of settled me down.
“I went to the toilet and had a talk to myself. Then obviously I won the last three frames with a 50-plus in each, so it was nice to get over the line.
“I remember walking through into the arena and there’s the World Championship trophy, and I’m like, that’s why you’re here. It obviously helped at that moment.
“I felt nervous and it ain’t easy being 6-3 up overnight, I didn’t sleep well. Walking into the venue this morning, I felt a bit tired.
“Even practice beforehand felt a bit sluggish. When I went out there, Dave potted the first long red.
“I think he only made 30-odd but it put me on the back foot, so once I won the second frame of the day, it settled me. I went from strength to strength.
“That’s probably the downfall (of having a 6-3 lead), it’s trying to keep that distance. Just start again as though it’s 0-0, just start again.
“You can try and protect a lead, but you’ve still got to go out and win four frames. I’ve done that in the past and learned from it.
“It’s like a best-of-seven for me, I’m trying to win four frames before he gets to four. You’ve just got to be in the right mindset.”
In the second round, Bingham will face either Fan Zhengyi or Mark Allen, a player who has won three ranking tournaments during the 2022/23 campaign.
“Mark has been the player of the season, he’s up to seeded three for this tournament – he’s obviously one of the favourites.”
“Since Christmas, he probably hasn’t played as good. I’m expecting a good game no matter what, I think he’d be very tough to beat.
“He’s maybe underachieved, he should have got his hands on that trophy. I respect him as a player and a person.
“It’s going to be three days of fun and top quality snooker.”
Elsewhere on Sunday morning at the Crucible Theatre, Ding Junhui established a 5-4 lead over Hossein Vafaei.
The matches involving seeds Neil Robertson, Luca Brecel, and Ali Carter will all reach their conclusions later on day two.
Three-time world champion Mark Williams also enters the fray, with the Welshman in action against Jimmy Robertson.
For the full World Snooker Championship draw, results, live scores, and session times, click here.
Featured photo credit: WST