FORMER world champion Stuart Bingham believes he is close to being back to his best, as he booked his spot in the Betway UK Championship last 32.

The 43-year-old took time to settle into his first round victory over Chinese teenager Lei Peifan, but looked much more at the races with a 6-4 win against former world number 11 Martin Gould in round two.

The Bowers Gifford based Bingham burst into the lead with an opening frame century, and after both players showed glimpses of their true potential on the way to 2-2, Bingham pulled away to 5-2 with two more tons in tow.

And after finishing the match off following a fightback attempt by his counterpart, Bingham explained he was pleased with the way he executed his latest performance at the first Triple Crown event of the season.

“It was a good game,” he said.

“It was pretty high-scoring and free-flowing and neither of us missed much.

“Whoever got the first chance in a frame seemed to go on and do well in it, and I got three centuries so you have to be happy with that.

“I'm scoring well; I just need to tighten up my safety here and there. I need to keep my mind focused on the game and the best way to do that is to relax on your days off during the tournament.”

Following three previous appearances in the semi-finals on one of the sport’s most prestigious stages, Bingham is vying to reach the showpiece finale for the first time and build on two ranking event titles last season.

But regardless of who he plays in the third round, the world number 12 knows he is in for a stern test with the stakes getting higher towards the tournament’s latter stages.

He said: “It's going to be another free-flowing game and it's going to be tough against whoever I play. You know what you're going to get with any player you come up against on the tour these days.

“I just need to work on the bits I need to improve on, take my chances in the match when they come along and just carry on playing my own game in the same way I have so far.

“Now the TV cameras are here and the crowds are nice and big, the tournament really lights up and it’s great to still be involved. Hopefully I can prolong my stay in Yorkshire for a little bit longer.”

>Watch the UK Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White.