By Nigel Slater
STUART Bingham’s impressive season continued after he secured his place in the UK Championships with a 6-4 win against Stephen Maguire.
The recent Premier League champion produced the goods when it mattered to clinch a last eight tie with Ali Carter.
Having won the Premier League and two Asian PTC events, Bingham is now just three wins away from lifting the UK Championship trophy and making it a season to remember.
The Basildon star made a flying start taking a 2-0 lead but Maguire showed his opponent he was in for a tough match winning the next two frames to level at 2-2 at the mid-session interval.
Bingham resumed the lead after the restart and took full advantage of Maguire’s sportsmanship in frame six when he called a foul on himself when leading by 60 points. Bingham in reply hit a frame-winning break of 63 to take the frame and a 4-2 lead.
The Scot though bounced back once again winning the next two frames to level the match at 4-4 and set up an exciting finish.
With the match at a critical stage, Bingham regained the lead with a break of 120 to go 5-4 up and then sealed the contest with breaks of 60 and 54 in frame ten.
Bingham’s next opponent Carter had more of a comfortable passage into the quarter finals after beating Mark Joyce.
Joyce was unable to follow on from the momentum he had when beating reigning champion Judd Trump on Sunday as Carter notched up four half century breaks on his way to a 6-2 win.
Another player who had a comfortable route to the quarter finals was Shaun Murphy who easily made it through to the last eight beating Graeme Dott 6-2.
In a match between two former world champions, Murphy never looked in danger of defeat and made it a step closer of winning his second UK title – he won his first in 2008.
Matthew Stevens also enjoyed last 16 joy after beating Marco Fu despite not performing to his best.
Top breaks of 74, 72 and 59 steered the Welshman into the last eight of this competition for the first time since 2003 – the year in which he won the title.
Wednesday sees 17-year=old Luca Brecel play his first ever ranking last 16 match against Mark King, world number two Mark Selby faces Ryan Day and in the evening John Higgins returns to action taking on Mark Davis and Australian Neil Robertson plays Barry Hawkins.