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STUART BINGHAM was happy to sharpen up for his world title defence with a ranking event unanswered points record at the China Open.

Ball Run scored 547 without reply in his round one 5-3 win over Sam Baird to break the previous best of 494 by John Higgins, which came against Ronnie O'Sullivan.

And despite a 5-1 quarter-final defeat to Ricky Walden, the world No 2 returned from Beijing feeling he had taken what he needed from the event.

Bingham, who also hit the tournament's highest break with 143, said: "Ricky got a bye in an earlier round and I think he might have been a bit fresher than me by the time we played. I also felt like the table beat me a bit because it played very differently that day.

"And I have had my battles with Ricky over the years - I tend to win one then he wins one, so I guess it was just his turn!

Read more: Bingham happy to sharpen up for Sheffield with unanswered points record in China

STUART BINGHAM is hoping his China Open campaign can set him up nicely for the defence of his world crown at the Crucible next month.

After missing out on a place at the Ladbrokes Players Championship in Manchester this week, Ball Run has decided to fly out to Beijing early to prepare for the penultimate ranking event of the season.

A last-32 defeat to Michael White at the China Open in April 2015 was far from what Bingham wanted - but a month later he won snooker's greatest prize in Sheffield and admits he'd settle for a similar result again this year.

He said: "I've just done an interview with the guy doing the programme for the Crucible so I'm really starting to look forward to getting back there now.

Read more: Bingham hopes China trip can set up more Crucible glory

STUART BINGHAM says he plans to regain fitness and focus for the season's run-in after a very disappointing February.

The world champion's difficult follow-up season to his Crucible win continued last month with first-stage exits at the Welsh Open and the Gdynia Open.

The 4-3 defeat to Scot Fraser Patrick last week in Poland cost Bingham a place alongside the European Order of Merit's top 24 at the Ladbrokes Player Championship in Manchester in late March. 

Ball-Run has also just missed out on a place at this week's winners' group of the Championship League after three wins and three defeats saw him edged out of a semi-final spot in the final qualifying round.

Read more: Bingham aims to renew fitness and focus for the run-in

STUART BINGHAM said he was satisfied with a return to form in Wales - despite Sunday's thrilling final defeat to Shaun Murphy.

Ball Run beat David Gilbert (4-1), Judd Trump (4-2), Ryan Day (4-2) and Joe Perry (6-5) to set up a best-of-19 clash for the World Grand Prix title with Murphy - the man he beat in last year's World Championship final.

And the showdown with The Magician did not disappoint as the friends slugged it out to go all-square at 9-9 before Murphy came out on top in a tense decider to claim the £100,000 prize and some payback for his Crucicle heartache.

Bingham, who made the long drive back from Llandudno with the consolation of a £35,000 runner-up cheque on Monday morning, said: "He just potted two unbelievable reds in the last frame and I did not get a chance.

Read more: Bingham satisfied with week in Wales despite final defeat in thriller with Murphy

STUART BINGHAM admits there are probably 60 other top-ranked players he would rather face this evening at the BetVictor Welsh Open than the dangerous Anthony Hamilton.

World champion Bingham beat world No 68 Hamilton twice in December – at the UK Championships and then at the German Masters Qualifiers – but on both occasions the Essex pro was impressed by his rival’s performance.

Bingham, whose match in Cardiff gets underway at 8pm, said: “I spoke to Anthony at the Shoot-Out and we said we had probably not played each other for about five years and now we will have played three times in as many months.

“I’ve said before I don’t think his ranking reflects his ability and there are probably 60 players in the top 64 I would rather play than him at the moment.

Read more: Bingham wary of Hamilton threat in Wales

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