Stuart Bingham says he needs to up his game considerably if he is going to get past four-time champion John Higgins in round two of the 2019 Betfred World Championship (Higgins 8/11, Bingham 11/10 – Match Betting).
Bingham, who triumphed at the Crucible back in 2015 when beating Neil Robertson in the final, was on course for a simple route into the second round of this year’s championship after taking an 8-1 lead against Graeme Dott.
The world number 12 was within one frame of victory when moving 9-4 ahead but suffered an almighty collapse, allowing his Scottish opponent to win the next five frames in a row to level the scores at 9-9.
In a nerve-jangling decider, the 42-year-old Englishman was able to refocus and clinch a 10-9 victory, booking his spot in the second round for the first time since 2017.
Next up for Bingham is a clash against Higgins, who is 14/1 to land a fifth world crown following his first-round win over Mark Davis, and the 2015 champion knows he will need to produce a better performance to reach the quarter-finals.
“In the first half of the season he (Higgins) lost his mojo but has found it again, unfortunately for me,” Bingham was quoted as saying by BBC Sport. “He has got the final in the past two years, so is one of the men to beat.
“I have had a good season and I am in the next round, and if I can play like I have done all season I fancy my chances.”
Odds subject to change.