It was a fantastic day for Stuart Bingham at the Fuhua Group China Open as he made sure of his place in the top 16 by beating Ricky Walden 6-5, and compiled a maximum break.
Victory for 2015 World Champion Bingham guaranteed he’ll be among the top 16 seeds in Sheffield later this month as he moved up to 13th in the Race to the Crucible. Mark Allen is currently in 16th place although all of the players in the chasing pack need to win the bumper £225,000 top prize in Beijing to go past him.
After sharing the first six frames today, Bingham made his superb 147 in the seventh. It was the fourth maximum of his career and could see him split the £42,000 bonus prize with Ronnie O’Sullivan, who made a 147 on Tuesday.
Bingham took the next as well with a run of 69, then Walden fought back to 5-5 and had chances in the deciding frame, but Bingham won it with a 44 clearance.
“It’s always special to make a 147, funnily enough my last one was also against Ricky, in the (2012) Wuxi Classic final,” said Basildon’s Bingham. “I made a good clearance in the last frame and I’m just happy to be in the next round.
“My goal when I came here was to make sure of my Crucible place and I have done that now so the pressure is off. I am getting stronger and stronger with each match.”
Surprise result of the day was a 6-2 win for world number 33 Jack Lisowski over in-form John Higgins. Lisowski, who reached the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters earlier this season, made breaks of 95, 72, 54 and 68.
“It’s amazing to beat John, he’s one of my heroes,” said Lisowski. “He wasn’t at his best and I took my chances. My safety is definitely getting better and I didn’t go for anything crazy. To win any tournament you have to beat a few of the top players and I haven’t really done that this season.
“This is a really big tournament now in terms of the rankings so I hope I can keep this run going.”
Ding Junhui continued to show impressive form as he won a Chinese derby against Xiao Guodong 6-2. Ding won the last four frames with breaks of 133, 90, 138 and 83.
Neil Robertson came from 4-1 down to beat Sam Craigie 6-5 with a top break of 103 while Mark Williams top scored with 112 in a 6-1 thrashing of Michael Holt.
World Champion Mark Selby, who beat Williams in the final of this event last year, played some of his best snooker in recent months in a 6-3 win over Ben Woollaston, making two breaks of 135.
Mark King needed to reach the final this week to earn a top 16 spot, but he went down 6-4 to Kyren Wilson, who fired runs of 70, 66, 70, 62, 60, 104 and 92. Mark Allen scored a 6-4 win over Yan Bingtao with a top break of 79.
Chinese talent Luo Honghao, the WSF Champion competing this week as a wild card, continued his fine run as he beat Duane Jones 6-5, taking a tense deciding frame by potting green, brown and blue.