Bingham fires past Williams into Masters quarters

Stuart Bingham made it past the first round at the Masters for only the second time
Stuart Bingham made it past the first round at the Masters for only the second time

Stuart Bingham needed a mid-session change of tact to fire him to first-round Masters victory as he downed Mark Williams 6-2.

The 43-year-old was tied 2-2 with two-time champion Williams at Alexandra Palace, but went on to win the next four as confidence grew after the break.

And the Basildon native says that it was a glance at the shot clock that spurred on his display - as well as a little help from his struggling opponent.

“I looked at the stats at the halfway stage and was up to about 27 seconds a shot clock and thought that if I get the chance I’ll try and speed it up a bit,” he said.

“I made a couple of good breaks, pinched the seventh frame and was lucky to get over the line in the end.

“It’s maybe the way his (Williams’) season’s gone, he just wasn’t with it tonight.

“We were talking before we went out and on Christmas day he was out playing nine holes, so he’s obviously lost the passion for the game, which is sad to see because he’s a great, great player, but good for me!”

Despite Williams’ widely-publicised disillusionment with the game, the result in north London was nevertheless a notable one for Bingham, whose results this season have left much to be desired.

And it is just the second time in 10 attempts that the man they call Ball-run has got past the first hurdle at the competition, so it was no surprises that he remains keen to take things one step at a time.

“My record here isn’t the best, so every match is like a final for me,” he continued.

“I’ve got another tough match against Kyren, who came good against Jack Lisowski today, from 2-0 down, so I expect a tough game.

“He’s great, got so much self-belief, his cue action’s good. You’ve just got to try and catch him on a bad day.

“The top 16 in the world are here and they’re all here on merit, all great players. You’ve got David Gilbert, he’s made probably the best performance of the first round. That’s what the standard is: if you don’t turn up, you get beaten.

“I’m playing alright, a few little things here and there, but as the match went on, I grew a little bit more in confidence.

“Over the Christmas period, I didn’t qualify for the German Masters or the European Masters, which was disappointing, but I put the hours in, only had two or three days off. I’ve had a couple of matches in the last week or so just to try and get in good shape.”

Watch the London Masters LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Ronnie O'Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.

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