STUART BINGHAM says he will be looking to take charge of his match with veteran James Wattana this week at the China Open Qualifiers.

Ballrun's clash with one-time world No 3 Wattana, 46, is scheduled to get underway at 2.30pm on Thursday (January 26) at the Guild Hall.

The China Open will be in Beijing between March 27 and April 2 and is the last counting tournament before seeding for the World Championship is determined.

Thailand's Wattana, a three-time ranking title winner and a pioneer for Asians in the elite snooker game, now gets wildcard places at events on the World Snooker Tour.

Bingham said: "I'm not sure how active he is now on the Tour but I've seen he has picked up a few results in recent years so I'll give him every respect.

"He is a nice guy and he plays the game properly but I need to focus on my game really and I need to try and 'bully' him a bit if I can.

"I've played him a few times in my career but can't remember exactly how it went, but I think I might have beaten him in the Six Reds.

"He has a good safety game like most of the players from his generation and the fact he reached world No 3 once shows he knows how to play.

"But qualifying for the China Open is important. It would be great to win it, of course, but it is also the best warm-up for the World Championship. So I really want to be there."

Matches at the Guild Hall start today - just two days after the conclusion of the Masters at London's Alexandra Palace, where Ronnie O'Sullivan won a record seventh title as he came from 4-1 down to beat Joe Perry 10-7 in the final.

Despite the loss, Perry, 42, played very well all week to make his first Triple Crown final and started with a 6-1 win in the first round over Bingham.

Ballrun, who arrived at Alexandra Palace a day after the arrival of his baby girl Marnie Rose, said: "It was hard to take and I guess in the end it was a bad defeat.

"But I have to take my hat off to Joe because he played well and punished me for every mistake. 

"I went for my shots but they did not come off and I just have to take it on the chin.

"And fair play to Joe because I think he was close to having enough of the game at the end of last year, but he has comeback and proved what a good player he is.

"He was in with a shot in that final too but Ronnie has been getting close to winning another tournament recently, so it was no surprise.

"And you can only say well done to Ronnie on his record, it is a great achievement, especially as he was just a black away from losing in the first round against Liang Wenbo. And that's just how snooker can be sometimes."

 

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