STUART BINGHAM admits he will have to beat the “player of the year so far” to make the semi finals at the Dafabet Masters. 

Ball Run takes on four-time world champion John Higgins in a last-eight clash at 7pm at Alexandra Palace tonight (January 15). 

Scot Higgins, who has claimed the Australian Goldfields Open and International Championship title so far this season, booked his quarter-final spot with three centuries in a 6-4 win over China’s Liang Wenbo.  

Bingham, who progressed with a 6-4 win over Ding Junhui on Sunday, said: “John has won two tournaments already this season and is probably the player of the year so far. 

“He looks back to his best now so I know I will have to bring my A-game if I am to beat him.” 

The win over Ding was only Bingham’s second-ever victory at the Masters, the first coming when he was a wildcard at the event towards the start of his career.

The world champion was on for a 147 in the third frame before missing a tricky cut on a yellow on 120, but felt it was still not his best display overall. 

He said: “Of course it was good to get my first Masters win but it was just as important to get my 2016 off to a good start after the season I’ve had so far. 

“It was not a good performance but a win is a win. I have been hitting the ball well on the practice table but I need to take that into matches. 

“Like me, Ding has not been at his best this season so that made it a bit of a battle. 

“It also meant I kept up my good winning steak against him. I feel a bit for him because I had a player like that a few years ago called Drew Henry who beat me six or seven times on the trot before I finally beat him. But Ding is a quality player and he'll be back.” 

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