2015 world champion Stuart Bingham admits he was suffering from a crisis of confidence before his stunning 6-5 win against world number one and defending champion Judd Trump in the first round of the Players Championship in Milton Keynes.
Bingham enjoyed breaks of 113, 112 – both of which were maximum attempts in the sixth and eighth frames in twice levelling the match – 93 and 58 in a rousing performance against Trump, who recovered from trailing 2-0 to lead 3-2 and 4-3 boosted by runs of 81, 105 and 76 only for Bingham to win three of the final four frames to progress.
The 'Ball-run' from Basildon will face UK Championship semi-finalist Zhou Yuelong or 2013 world finalist Barry Hawkins in the quarter-finals, but admits he surprised himself after dreading the trip to face Trump following his 4-2 first round loss to Robert Milkins at the Welsh Open in Newport last week.
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"I'm really pleased. I was practising yesterday morning before coming up here and I didn't want to get in the car. I felt really bad and had a chat with my missus, my manager and my coach," revealed Bingham.
I just found a bit of something from somewhere. I think it was the first chance on the maximum at 3-2 behind. Something clicked and I just fancied the job.
Bingham appeared on the verge of a 6-4 win only for Trump to produce a superb pot on the penultimate red before dishing up to pinch the tenth frame by three points in forcing the decider.
"It's what has been happening all season when I couldn't get over the line in the tenth frame when I missed an easy cannon for 6-4. Judd showed what a class act he is by potting a great red before clearing up," said Bingham.
"I'm just over the moon."
Bingham admits he was inspired by 750-1 outsider Jordan Brown's 9-8 victory over world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Welsh Open final on Sunday.
Bingham is 14th in the rankings and is battling to remain in the top 16 to ensure he avoids having to qualify for the World Championship in April.
"I've been playing really solid all year, but have just been losing too many deciders all season," said Bingham.
I got some inspiration from watching Jordan Brown beating Ronnie in the final yesterday and it gave me the kick up the backside I needed.
"I found a bit of form in the middle of the match. At 2-0 up, Judd missed a few. It was a good match after we resumed at 2-2.
"I held myself together well. I've got my work cut out to make sure I qualify for the World Championship, but I'm in with a shout."
A disappointed Trump suffered his earliest defeat at a ranking event since losing 5-3 to Ian Burns in the first round of the European Masters in December 2019.
It comes after the 21-times ranking event winner went down 4-2 to Hossein Vafaei in the last 32 of the Welsh Open, his stickiest spell of a memorable campaign that has already brought him four titles.
"I battled back into it, same old story. Some of the tournaments, you need a bit of luck and it didn't happen for me," said Trump, who defends his Gibraltar Open title (LIVE on Eurosport 1-7 March.)
"It wasn't my day. Things just didn't go for me. I didn't do a lot wrong. I didn't feel like I deserved to lose."