Stuart Bingham

Stuart Bingham (born 21 May 1976) is an English professional snooker player. He is a former World Snooker Champion and the reigning Masters champion.

As a 20-year-old amateur, Bingham won the 1996 IBSF World Snooker Championship. Despite some notable victories in the early years of his professional career, such as beating the defending world champion Stephen Hendry 10–7 in the first round of the 2000 World Championship, he enjoyed little sustained success and became known as a journeyman player. His form improved in his thirties: At age 35, he won his first ranking title at the 2011 Australian Goldfields Open, which helped him reach the top 16 for the first time.

At age 38, Bingham won the 2015 World Championship, beating Shaun Murphy 18–15 in the final, which British media said "completed an astonishing transition from journeyman to king of the Crucible". The oldest first-time world champion in snooker history, he joined Ken Doherty as the only players to have won world titles at both amateur and professional levels. His world title also took him to a career-high number two in the world rankings, a spot he held until March 2017. Bingham won his second Triple Crown title at the 2020 Masters, defeating Ali Carter 10–8 in the final. Aged 43 years and 243 days, he superseded Ray Reardon as the oldest Masters champion.

A prolific break-builder, Bingham has compiled more than 400 century breaks during his career, including six maximum breaks.

Career

Early career

In 1999, Bingham reached the quarter-final stage of the Welsh Open, beating the world champion John Higgins along the way, and later in the season caused a major shock by defeating defending champion Stephen Hendry 10–7 in the first round of the 2000 World Championship, ranked a lowly 97 in the world. He was knocked out in the second round by Jimmy White. He also qualified for the tournament in 2002 by beating Nigel Bond. Bingham played Ken Doherty in the first round and almost made the fifth 147 break at the Crucible, but missed the final pink in an attempt that would have been worth £167,000. He went on to lose the match 8–10.

In the 2004/2005 season his best runs were two last-sixteen runs in ranking events, including losing in a final frame decider to Ding Junhui in the China Open.

In 2005/2006, he had one of his most consistent seasons. He reached the quarter-finals of the Grand Prix tournament, beating then world champion Shaun Murphy along the way. He got to the same stage of the UK Championship, losing in a final frame decider to Joe Perry. He also won the qualifying tournament for the Masters, scoring a 147 break along the way. He then beat Steve Davis in the preliminary round, before losing to Peter Ebdon 4–6. At the start of 2006 a top 16 rankings position looked a possibility, however defeat to Ryan Day in qualifying for the World Championship ended his chances of doing so, although he did move up into the top 32 for the first time. 2006/2007 was not so strong, and he again failed to qualify for the World Championship, though he did achieve the unique feat of winning the Masters qualifying tournament for a second successive season, defeating Mark Selby 6–2 in the final.

He made a good start to the 2007/08 season, reaching the quarter finals of the Shanghai Masters, losing 5–0 to Mark Selby. After finishing 4th in his group in the Grand Prix he then lost his first match in the Northern Ireland Trophy. In the Maplin UK Championship he managed to reach the last 16, losing to Shaun Murphy 9–3, after victories over Fergal O'Brien and Steve Davis again. He also reached the same stage of the Welsh Open, beating Stephen Maguire 5–4, after being 3–0 down, in the last 32, but subsequently lost 5–2 to Joe Perry in the last 16. He qualified for the World Championship with a comfortable 10–3 win over Adrian Gunnell, and then he beat Steve Davis once again in the first round 10–8 (this after having led 8–3 and been pegged back at 8–8), only to lose to Joe Perry again in the second round 13–9. 2008/2009 was a comparative disappointment for Bingham, who lost his first match in four of the eight events. He was drawn against world number one Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round of the 2009 World Championship, losing 10–5.

Bingham reached the Quarter final stages of the 2010 UK Championship having defeated O'Sullivan 9–6 and then Marco Fu 9–2 in previous rounds before losing 9–7 to Northern Ireland's Mark Allen. Later that season, Bingham qualified once again for the World Championship and beat former champion Peter Ebdon 10–8 in the first round. In the second round he went up against Ding Junhui and played well to go 12–9 up but Ding produced a great comeback to win 13–12. Had Bingham won the match, he would have ended the season ranked inside the world's top 16.

First ranking event victory

In July 2011, Bingham won the first world ranking event of his sixteen-year career, the Australian Goldfields Open, coming back from 5–8 down to beat Mark Williams 9–8 in the final to claim the $60,000 first prize. His run included a revenge 5–2 frames victory over his crucible conqueror Ding Junhui and a 5–3 victory over bitter rival Mark Allen, as well as a semi-final 6–2 win over former World Champion Shaun Murphy.

The victory also meant that Bingham, who had already finally entered the top 16 for the first time due to a quarter-final finish in the first Players Tour Championship Event, rose to a career high ranking of 11. It also guaranteed him a place in the 2012 Masters, for the first time as a member of the elite top 16, rather than as a wildcard as he was in 2005 and 2006. He drew Judd Trump in the first round and held a slender 3–2 lead before losing four frames in a row to exit the tournament 3–6. He could not recapture the form he showed in Australia in the remaining seven ranking events, as he failed to get past the second round in any of them, culminating in a 4–10 loss to Stephen Hendry in the first round of the World Championship. Despite the defeat, Bingham finished the season ranked world number 16, the first time he has ended the year in the top 16 in his career.

2012/2013

The 2012/2013 season proved to be Bingham's best year of his career so far. He won a number of tournaments during the year, including the Premier League and contested two ranking event finals. Bingham won the first two tournaments he entered, beginning with the Pink Ribbon Pro-Am charity tournament where he whitewashed Peter Lines 4–0 in the final. He followed this up by claiming the first Asian PTC with a 4–3 victory over Stephen Lee. His extraordinary start continued at the season's first ranking event, the Wuxi Classic. He won final frame deciders in each of his matches to reach the final, overcoming Peter Ebdon, Ken Doherty, world number one Mark Selby and Mark Davis. In his semi-final against Davis he compiled a 134 break in the decider to reach the final. He played Ricky Walden in a bid to win the first ranking event of the season for the second successive year and made the third 147 of his career in the opening session of the match. This made Bingham the third man, following Stephen Hendry and John Higgins to make a maximum in a ranking final. However, it was the only frame he could win as he trailed 1–7 at the conclusion of the afternoon's play, before eventually losing 4–10. This ended Bingham's winning start to the season, which had seen him take 16 matches in a row. He couldn't defend his Australian Goldfields Open title from 2011 as he squandered a 2–0 and 4–3 lead over Matthew Selt in the first round to lose 4–5.

Stuart Bingham at the 2013 German Masters.

Bingham beat Tom Ford 5–4 and Jamie Cope 5–1 to make the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters, but was outplayed by Shaun Murphy in a 1–5 defeat. Bingham lost in the first round of the International Championship to Aditya Mehta, but bounced back to secure the third Asian PTC title with a 4–3 victory over Li Hang in the final. Bingham finished atop of Group A in the Premier League, winning all but one match (which he led 3–0 against Shaun Murphy but eventually drew 3–3) and then edged past John Higgins in the semi-finals, before winning the event by dispatching Judd Trump 7–2 in the final. He won through to another quarter-final at the UK Championship but was denied 4–6 by Ali Carter. Bingham then had somewhat of a mid-season slump as he lost in the first round of the Masters and the German Masters and in the second round of the World Open. However, he returned to form spectacularly at the Welsh Open by reaching the final. In the semi-finals he had sneaked past defending champion Ding Junhui 6–5 with a 108 break in the deciding frame, and at 7–5 ahead in the final he faced Stephen Maguire and missed a crucial shot which turned the momentum of the match in Maguire's favour, as he moved 8–7 up. Although Bingham forced a last frame decider he could not take it, to lose the match 8–9. Maguire again was the victor in the quarter-finals of the China Open by winning 5–1.

In the World Championship, Bingham played world number 83 Sam Baird in the first round, winning 10–2. He followed this with a 13–10 win over Mark Davis to reach the quarter-finals for the first time. There, he faced defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, who went 7–1 ahead after the first session and then took a 12–1 lead in the second session. Although Bingham won the final three frames of the second session to prevent the match ending with a session to spare, the third session lasted just one frame, as O'Sullivan clinched a 13–4 victory. He climbed 10 places in the rankings during the season to end it at world number six, at that point his highest ever placing.

2013/2014

Bingham's season began with a 5–2 defeat to Anthony Hamilton in the last 32 of the 2013 Wuxi Classic in June. The following month, he lost 5–3 to Joe Perry in the last 16 of the 2013 Australian Goldfields Open. In early September, he reached the semi-finals of the non-ranking 2013 Six-red World Championship, but lost 7–4 to Neil Robertson. Later that month, he lost 5–1 to Kyren Wilson in the first round of the 2013 Shanghai Masters. In October, he reached the last 16 of the 2013 Indian Open, where he lost 4–3 to Pankaj Advani. Later that month he reached the last 16 of the 2013 International Championship, but lost 1–6 to Mark Selby.

As the 2012 Premier League Snooker winner, Bingham was one of 16 players invited to compete in the 2013 Champion of Champions tournament in November. He performed impressively, defeating Ricky Walden 4–0 in the first round, Judd Trump 6–2 in the quarter-finals, and Selby 6–4 in the semi-finals before losing 8–10 in the final to O'Sullivan.

Bingham followed this with a strong showing at the 2013 UK Championship. He defeated Jimmy White 6–2 in the last 64, Anthony McGill 6–2 in the last 32, and David Morris 6–1 in the last 16 to set up a quarter-final clash with O'Sullivan. Even though O'Sullivan made breaks of 127 and 135 in the match, Bingham won 6–4 to book a semi-final place against Robertson, the furthest he had ever progressed in any Triple Crown event. Robertson took a 5–3 lead in the first session of the semi-final, and won the first three frames of the evening session to extend his lead to 8–3. Bingham then fought back to win the next five frames, levelling the match at 8–8, but Robertson took the deciding frame to clinch a 9–8 victory. At the Masters, Bingham lost 6–2 in the first round to John Higgins. He reached the final of the Shoot-Out but was beaten by Dominic Dale. Bingham won three matches at the Welsh Open, but then lost on the colours in the last 16 against Joe Perry to be beaten 4–3. Bingham travelled to China and won the minor-ranking Dongguan Open by seeing off Liang Wenbo 4–1 in the final. His form tailed off somewhat after this as he could not get past the second round of the final four ranking events, the last of which was a first round 10–5 defeat to Ken Doherty in the World Championship.

2014/2015: World Champion

Stuart Bingham at the 2015 German Masters

In the first two ranking events of the season, Bingham lost in deciding frames of the third round of the Wuxi Classic to Marco Fu and the quarter-finals of the Australian Goldfields Open to Mark Davis. He enjoyed victories over Li Hang, Dominic Dale and Alan McManus at the Shanghai Masters and then won four frames in a row to see off Ding Junhui 6–4 in the semi-finals. From 5–3 ahead in the final against Mark Allen, Bingham took five unanswered frames to claim his second ranking title with a 10–3 win. In October, he won the Haining Open defeating Oliver Lines 4–0 in the final.

Bingham reached his second consecutive UK Championship semi-final by turning a 4–1 deficit against Graeme Dott into a 6–5 victory. A reversal occurred against Ronnie O'Sullivan as Bingham made a 137 break to establish a 4–1 lead but lost 6–5. After being knocked out in the second round of the German Masters 5–4 on the final pink to Liang Wenbo, Bingham claimed the non-ranking Championship League title by beating Mark Davis 3–2. O'Sullivan was again the winner when the pair met in the semi-finals of the inaugural World Grand Prix, whitewashing Bingham 6–0. A further semi-final followed at the PTC Grand Final, but he lost 4–1 to eventual champion Joe Perry.

Bingham met O'Sullivan for the fourth time this season in the quarter-finals of the World Championship after he had eliminated Robbie Williams 10–7 and Graeme Dott 13–5. Bingham made a 145, the tournament's joint-highest break, to set up a 6–3 advantage, before O'Sullivan led 9–8. From there, Bingham made a break of 50 or above in five successive frames to win 13–9. He was 2–1 down in the early stages of his semi-final with Judd Trump, but was never behind after that as he went on to take a 16–14 lead. However, Trump produced back-to-back centuries to force a deciding frame in which Bingham made a series of small breaks which included a superb plant along the top cushion to win 17–16. Facing Shaun Murphy in the final, Bingham recovered from 3–0 and 8–4 down to win 18–15 and claim his first world title. At the age of 38, he became the oldest first-time winner at the Crucible since Ray Reardon who was 45 when he won the World Championship in 1978, although by then Reardon had already won five world titles at other venues. Bingham climbed to world number two, the highest ranking of his career, after the event.

2015/2016

Bingham progressed through to the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters and lost 6–3 to Judd Trump. A series of early ranking exits followed, although he did reach the semi-finals of the minor ranking Gibraltar Open (lost 4–0 to Michael White). Bingham also had his best run to date in the Masters by beating Ding Junhui 6–4 and John Higgins 6–3 to face Ronnie O'Sullivan in the semi-finals and he was defeated 6–3. He overcame a 3–0 deficit to eliminate Joe Perry 6–5 at the World Grand Prix and reach his first final of the year. In fact both Bingham and Shaun Murphy were appearing in their first ranking final since last year's World Championship with Murphy edging it 10–9. He lost 5–1 in the quarter-finals of the China Open to Ricky Walden.

Before the defence of his World Championship title, Bingham stated that all the interviews he had done throughout the year and the pressures of being world champion had affected his play this season. However, he hoped that his recent improvement in form would continue and saw no reason he could not become the first player to break the Crucible curse and retain his title. In the first round he came from 8–5 behind against Ali Carter to lead 9–8, but went on to be defeated 10–9.

2016/2017

2016 Paul Hunter Classic

Bingham made it to the final of the Six-red World Championship and the match went to the final black in the deciding frame. It was potted by Ding Junhui to give him the title with an 8–7 win. Bingham conceded just three frames as he progressed through to the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters. In a match up between the two highest ranked players in the world he led 5–3, before Mark Selby took the win 6–5. Bingham lost by the same scoreline in the semi-finals of the English Open, this time to Liang Wenbo. A third ranking event semi-final of the season arrived at the International Championship, but Bingham was heavily defeated 9–3 by Selby after being 2–0 up. He reached the final of the invitational China Championship and was 7–7 with John Higgins until he made three centuries in a row to beat Bingham 10–7. After all these deep runs in a number of events he was knocked out in the second round of the UK Championship 6–4 by world number 62 Yu Delu. He exited the Masters in the first round, losing 6–1 to eventual finalist Joe Perry and he lost in the semi-finals of the German Masters 6–4 to Anthony Hamilton.

Bingham had a comfortable passage in to the final of the Welsh Open which he reached without facing a top 20 ranked player. He won the first four frames against Judd Trump, but went on to fall 8–7 down. Bingham then won the two frames he required to claim his fourth ranking title and first since winning the world title. In the second round of the World Championship he lost the first five frames against Kyren Wilson and could never recover the deficit as he was beaten 13–10. Bingham stated that he would be working with Terry Griffiths next season and would be playing with a new cue from Cue Creator.

2017/2018: Illegal betting and ban

On 24 October 2017, Bingham was found guilty of breaking World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) rules on betting on matches involving himself and other players. He received a six month ban (of which, three months and one day were suspended) for betting breaches, and was also ordered to pay £20,000 in costs. The partial ban expired at the end of January 2018.

Bingham made his fourth 147 in April 2018 at the China Open.

2018/2019

Bingham had something of a poor start to the 2018/19 season, failing to qualify for the first two ranking events – the Riga Masters and the World Open. He suffered Last 32 exits in the China Championship and European Masters, but a swift return to form saw him lift the English Open title, with a 9–7 win over veteran Mark Davis in the final. A visibly emotional Bingham in his interview following his win mentioned how tough it had been both on and off the table following on from his ban the previous year, and how delighted he was to go back to winning ranking titles.

On his Triple Crown return, at the UK Championship in December 2018, Bingham reached the semi-finals where he lost in a final-frame decider to Mark Allen. In February 2019, he was runner-up in the Welsh Open, losing in the final 7–9 to Neil Robertson. The following month, Bingham won his second ranking title of the season, the Gibraltar Open, beating defending champion Ryan Day 4–1 in the final.

2020: Masters champion

Bingham won the 2020 Dafabet Masters, beating Ali Carter 10-8 in what was both players' first Masters final.

Personal life

Bingham married Michelle Shabi in 2013 in a ceremony held in Cyprus. The couple have a son, Shae, born in 2011, a daughter, Marnie Rose, born in January 2017, and Michelle's daughter Tegan, born in 2003.

Bingham was once a keen amateur golfer, but made the decision to play less golf so that he could focus on snooker. Bingham is a supporter of West Ham United.

Performance and rankings timeline

Career finals

Ranking finals: 11 (6 titles, 5 runners-up)

Minor-ranking finals: 4 (4 titles)

Non-ranking finals: 13 (8 titles, 5 runners-up)

Variant finals: 1 (1 runner-up)

Pro-am finals: 12 (11 titles, 1 runner-up)

Amateur finals: 4 (2 titles, 2 runners-up)

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article "Stuart Bingham", released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.