STUART Bingham says he will put his German Masters disappointment behind him and focus on starting a strong end to the season when he gets underway at the Welsh Open today against lower seed Craig Steadman.
World number 10 Bingham was disappointed with his 5-1 defeat to Andrew Higginson in Berlin last month, and is determined to avoid another upset against world number 82 Steadman at the Newport Centre today.
Bingham said: “I wanted to start the year off on a high note, and that obviously did not go to plan at the German Masters. I think I might have gone there with the wrong mindset and was not completely happy with my game.
“But I’ve won my qualifying match for this against Matt Selt (4-2) and I’ve had a bit more practice; I feel a bit better going into this tournament.
“I’ve always tended to have a good start to the season and a bad end, or vice versa. But this time I’ve put a bit of added pressure on myself to have a good end after a good start.
“I spoke to Craig at the qualifiers in Sheffield after I saw he beat Jamie Burnett 4-1, which was a good result. Craig has been about for a while now and had some good results in pro-ams, and he’s a very capable player.
“But it is a match I think I should win four times out of five. It will be important to see how he plays when he gets out there and under the lights, but I’ve just got to give him the respect he deserves — I need to play my game and be good.”
Steadman is a 30-year-old from Bolton and his best-ever ranking performance is a last 48 showing at the 2009 UK Championship.
If Bingham wins he will face 2007 champion Neil Roberston in the next round after the Australian saw off Ian Burns 4-1 in yesterday’s opening session.
The tournament will run until February 17 and will feature defending champion Ding Junhui and Welsh wizard Mark Williams.