STUART Bingham let a four-frame lead slip as world number one Mark Selby claimed a remarkable comeback win at The Masters tonight to set up a quarter-final with Mark Williams on Friday evening.
Bingham led 5-1 in the first-to-six encounter but Selby took five frames in a row to record an incredible 6-5 victory in front of a packed house at Alexandra Palace.
"I'm going to be positive because I loved the occasion and was in my element at 5-1," said Bingham afterwards.
"Obviously I'll take this as a kick up the backside and I'll come back stronger. I was maybe 10 times better than him at 5-1 but he was 10 times better than me to come back so it's just one of those things."
Bingham had about 70 loyal supporters who had travelled up from Essex to cheer him on. He had friends there from the Rayleigh Lanes club, the Q Ball in Basildon, and the Shell Club in Corringham.
His fiancee Michelle Shabi, manager Gary Purkiss and coach Steve Feeney were also in the crowd to support him.
And the world number 10 treated them all to another thrilling night in what is already his best-season ever.
Selby led 8-7 in the head-to-head with Bingham going into this match, but the 36-year-old from Vange whitewashed the 29-year-old from Leicestershire 6-0 on his way to winning the Premier League this season.
Selby, Masters champion in 2008 and 2010, took the opening frame with a break of 63.
But Bingham responded with a 30 and 40 in the next to level, then a confident 55 to take the next, and a confident 78 to hold a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval.
At the break he told the Echo the table was not as fast as he'd been told and he thought he'd initially given it "too much respect".
And he picked up after the break where he'd left off with an 86 break to make it 4-1.
The sixth frame was an attritional 43 minutes which eventually went to Bingham following a tense safety exchange to put him 5-1 up in the first-to-six encounter.
Selby won the next two to reduce arrears to 5-3 and when he made an 87 to take the next frame the Jester from Leicester looked set to stage one of his trademark comebacks.
He made 60 to make it 5-5 and then held it together in the final frame to make it five frames on the trot and claim an incredible 6-5 win.
Selby will now face Williams in quarter-final which will get underway at 7pm on Friday.
Williams came back from 4-1 down to beat fellow Welshman Matthew Stevens in an error-strewn encounter in the first match of the day on Thursday.