Stuart Bingham of England reacts during a qualifying match against Yan Bingtao of China on day one of Evergrande 2017 World Snooker China Champion at Guangzhou Sport University on August 16, 2017 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China.
The 2015 world champion had led 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3 only to be pegged back to 4-4 by an out-of-sorts Higgins.
In a pivotal ninth frame the Ball-run looked set to put himself to within one frame of the quarter-final as he built what looked like a frame-winning break. However, as the 43-year-old lined up a rudimentary red leading 46-18, a spectator’s phone began to ring.
Bingham, clearly irritated by the interruption, attempted to steady himself but jawed the red, allowing Higgins an opportunity to steal the frame.
Bingham rages after mobile goes off during Higgins match
Higgins duly took that opportunity to take what would turn out to be the penultimate frame before putting together a run of 50 in frame 10 to make the quarters.
WHAT THEY SAID
“It went off – I got down and [took the shot] shot but I shouldn’t have missed it. I was just thinking on the shot that something always seems to happen.
It is a joke. It is ruining people’s livelihoods. People forgetting to turn their phones off is a joke.
" [If the phone did not go off] I am 5-4 up, and I would have a couple of chances to get over the line."
Stuart Bingham: It's a joke... it's costing people their livelihood
“There isn’t any excuse for it, but I think the gentleman was a good age and I am not sure he even heard it.
John Higgins: There isn’t any excuse for it
“It is one of those things – it happens in the game sometimes and sometimes it happens at really critical points.
“It was unlucky for Stuart and lucky for me that it happened at that point.
It was hard to take.
“Oh no, and Bingham is entitled to furious. You can see his reaction – it has just affected his concentration and I am surprised it doesn’t happen more often.
He is absolutely incandescent, and you can’t blame him – it was such a crucial point of the match as well. He was looking good for 5-4 there.
Yes, absolutely. It appears as though the same phone went off as Higgins attempted to clear the table which led to a curt telling off for the spectator from the referee.