STUART Bingham’s bid for a second Betfred World Championships title was just about kept alive after battling back from a wretched start in his second-round clash with Kyren Wilson.
The Basildon cueman heads into Friday’s second session trailing 5-3, but it could have been so much worse for the 2015 Crucible champion.
Bingham at one time trailed 5-0 as the rhythm of his Coral Welsh Open victory earlier this year deserted him, with Wilson taking full advantage in their best-of-25 encounter.
But a late rally has given Bingham some much-needed confidence and frames heading into Friday morning, with the game set to come to a conclusion in Friday’s evening session.
Both players’ best performances were absent in the first frame, but it was Wilson who took the lead after a break of 45, with Bingham staying in his chair after battling for snookers on the blue and pink.
And the world No.3’s day was to get worse when Wilson doubled his advantage, thanks to a break of 71, while a poor positional shot onto the green effectively handed his opponent the third frame.
Despite scoring double figures in each of the first four frames, Bingham had nothing on the board by the time the mid-session interval came around, while Wilson was again clinical in the fifth frame to reach a 5-0 lead.
But from there Bingham – a victim of the champion’s ‘Crucible curse’ with his first-round exit last year – regained some form against the world No.14.
First came a break of 52 for the Essex potter to finally get himself on the board in the sixth frame, while it was to get better soon after.
Bingham decided the best way to downplay Wilson’s clinical potting was to deny him time on the table, as another half-century break – coupled with no points for his opponent – reduced arrears to three.
There was still work to do in the eighth, and final, frame of the session though, after racing into a 50-point lead before being drawn into a safety battle on the final red.
That looked like it was to end with a brilliant red into the top pocket, only to go on and miss the subsequent black which would have been frame ball.
But it mattered little for the 40-year-old, heading into Friday’s double-header just two in arrears – despite possessing a potting success rate of just 84 per cent across the session.
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