Stuart Bingham beats Mark Davis 9-7 to win English Open in Crawley

Stuart Bingham
Stuart Bingham

Stuart Bingham finally made his experience pay to win the English Open final 9-7 and deny Mark Davis a first ranking title in his first ever final.

Davis had secured his place in Sunday's match by thrashing Ronnie O'Sullivan in the semis, but there was no evidence to suggest that had taken the edge off him as he threw all he had at his opponent.

Bingham, though, is a former world champion, vastly experienced by comparison when it comes to playing under the brightest of lights, so when he edged 8-7 in front in a first-to-nine final, it was clear Davis would have to produce the best snooker of his life to win.

That was not to be as, despite missing a straightforward red for the title, Bingham went on to edge a scrappy 16th frame and win 9-7, the only time in the match either player had daylight over the other.

"It's been fantastic," said an emotional Bingham. "What my family has been through... it's been a rocky road. To win another Home Nations event, this means the world."

Davis, credited by his opponent for calling a foul on himself when leading 5-4, said: "It wasn't meant to be, but I've had a great week. If you'd have given me the final before this week, I'd have obviously taken it."

It was Davis who struck the first blow of a nip-and-tuck affair, pinching the opening frame, and though Bingham won the next two and thereafter kept edging ahead, he could not shake off his opponent.

Davis ended an engrossing first session with what would be the highest break of the final, a 136 clearance which demonstrated that while the situation was new, it was not one likely to knock him off course.

A 94 break from the Sussex potter to kick off the evening session saw him lead for the first time since the opening frame at 5-4, but again it was brief, runs of 78 and 73 putting the 2015 world champion back in something like control after Davis had owned up to feathering the white ball.

Despite that blow, one which may have proven decisive, Davis levelled again at 6-6 and 7-7. But Bingham had all the answers, this time a 102 break to move within one frame of his fifth ranking title. It was not a surprise that he needed no second invitation.

When the end did finally arrive, it was thanks in part to a snooker expertly laid by Bingham, one which forced Davis to blast hopefully into the reds.

This time, luck was not with the 46-year-old and Bingham, four years his junior, clinically plotted a path towards victory with a break of 41, albeit missing what appeared to be tournament ball to allow a final lifeline for his opponent.

By now Davis was shooting from the hip and while he managed one final flicker, a red finely cut to the left-centre pocket, the black he needed to follow held up in the jaws and left him in need of snookers.

It was Bingham, though, who controlled the ensuing safety battle and after forcing the mistake, he fired the final red home to beat a close friend and win the trophy named in honour of his hero, Steve Davis.

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