By Matt Rich
The Australian Goldfields Open champion made the perfect start to the match, going into the session interval 4-0 ahead. He opened the match with a break of 79 in the first frame and went on to add a 60 and a 64 in the third and fourth frames.
Davis spoke yesterday of the need to improve his break-building and he did just that, coming out after the interval playing some inspired snooker, scoring three 70 breaks in the next three frames to leave him one behind. The veteran, who was playing in his first ranking event semi-final, then levelled with a wonderful 54 after being 52-1 down in the eighth. He took the lead, scoring a personal tournament best of 86 in the ninth to leave him 5-4 up, a frame away from the final.
Bingham fought back to take the match to a deciding frame and made no mistake in the eleventh with a fine under-pressure 134 break. He has now progressed through every round of the first ranking event of the season via the final frame and is just one win from the £75,000 top prize. Having already won the Pink Ribbon Pro-Am and Asian PTC, the Basildon player will aim to continue his extraordinary start to the season when he takes on Ricky Walden or Marcus Campbell over 19 frames on Sunday.
"I was ready to get on the flight to Thailand," said Bingham. "I can't believe how I played. Until 4-0 up I didn't let him see a ball and then tide totally changed and he was getting a few little flicks here and there. I started missing a few and he pulled out a great clearance to go 4-4. Obviously the momentum was definitely with him. He had a couple of chances to win 6-4 but getting to your first final, or getting to any final, your nerves start to show a bit. I don't know how I held myself together in the last frame, it was absolutely unbelievable. I went through every emotion in that match.
"I think I'm quite lucky to be in the final. Everything changed, I don't know where I pulled those two frames from but now I can look forward to tomorrow and relax. I don't care who I play, Marcus (Campbell) or Ricky (Walden). Ricky's been to a final so he might be the favourite in that match but like I say, I don't care. If I play how I have been all week, I've got every chance so I'm just looking forward to it now.
"I'm happy to be in the final. It doesn't matter if you win 6-0 or 6-5, it's still a win. I'm trusting myself and I'm believing in my game. I'm playing good snooker, I may be losing a few frames but I'm playing open, I'm scoring well, I suppose that's my game. It's like being in a boxing ring, punching each other to the ground, but I'm coming out on top. As long as I keep doing that I'm happy."
Of his coolness in the final frames he said: "I might look cool, I might look calm, but believe me I'm shaking like a leaf. I'm trusting myself so when I get a chance I go all-out for it. At 4-0 I was still going for my shots, I wasn't changing my game, but things didn't happen for me. The way I'm playing, how confident I am, I'm just going for my shots and I fancy everything that I'm going for. To win the last frame in one hit, it just shows how I'm well playing."
Davis said afterwards: "It's painful, it's going to be painful for while I think. The first four frames I felt ok, I just didn't really settle down, my safety was terrible. I only missed a couple of balls but my safety was terrible and I was 4-0 down. I played pretty much flawless snooker from then to go 5-4 up. I twitched one ball, the red near the black spot in the tenth frame which, basically would have meant I would have won, and ended up losing. But when you go 4-0 down, you give yourself no leeway so you can't afford any mistakes. I think only made one there, but it's a game I should've won because I should've potted that red and I had a couple of half-chances in that frame as well. It's very disappointing but I've got to take the positives out of it.
"It would have been my first final, but I've felt more nervous than that in the past in other matches so it wasn't really that, I just wanted to win the match. It was only one ball that I should've got, that I didn't cue well on that I can think of. I missed a couple of others but they weren't easy. But the pressure gets to everybody, I did twitch it, I don't mind admitting that, everyone does. Anyone that says they don't is a liar. It's a big stage and that's a massive thing to get into the final of a tournament. But Stuart would've felt under it even though he's already won a ranking tournament. That's the way it goes sometimes and the people who win these things are the ones who hold themselves together in those situations - and I didn't."
Ball by ball scoring and results from tournaments