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Bingham primed for Shanghai Masters defence

14 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Bingham primed for Shanghai Masters defence

The world champion's glorious 2014/15 season included winning this event 12 months ago - retaining his title can inspire similar success

It is perhaps not surprising that Stuart Bingham suffered an opening-round exit in his first world ranking event – the 2015 Australian Goldfields Open in June – since winning the World Championship the previous month.

Reaching the pinnacle of the sport after 20 years of trying – with varying degrees of success along the way – takes some time to adjust to.

But while the humble Bingham probably still reflects on his magnificent victory at the Crucible every single day of the week, the natural passing of time – and a plethora of snooker’s most prestigious tournaments to play – makes it easier to look ahead.

Being the defending champion – as the 39-year-old is at the Shanghai Masters this week – also helps.

Bingham, who defeated Mark Allen 10-3 in last year’s final, returns to the Grand Stage venue in China’s biggest city for the second world ranking event of the 2015/16 season.

The player nicknamed ‘Ball Run’, who begins his title defence against amateur Fang Xiongman, is 12/1 to retain the title he won 12 months ago.

Bingham is joined at the tournament, which has been played since 2007, by a slew of the world’s best players who will all be aiming to pocket the £85,000 winner’s prize money.

Previous champions Mark Selby (7/1), Ding Junhui (10/1) – playing on home soil – and John Higgins (10/1) – who won in Australia – are also in action.

So, too, are Judd Trump (9/2), Neil Robertson (6/1) and Shaun Murphy (9/1), who is in fine form after reaching the final of the Paul Hunter Classic last month.

Bingham is unlikely to be fazed by his odds, which are curiously generous considering he is the both defending and world champion.

That hints at a perception that the man from Basildon, Essex, is still not assured of his place at snooker’s top table.

The only way to change that, of course, is by winning.

And becoming the first player to defend the Shanghai Masters this week would be the perfect place to start.

Shanghai Masters betting