World Snooker 2016: Carter knocks out champion Bingham

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre
2016 World Snooker Championship
Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 16 April - 2 May
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport app, Connected TVs and online.

Defending champion Stuart Bingham suffered a 10-9 first-round defeat by Ali Carter at the World Championship in Sheffield.

Carter saw an 8-5 lead disappear in the evening session but won the last two frames to end the champion's reign, after Bingham's shock victory in 2015.

Bingham's 88 and 113 clearance gave him a 9-8 lead, before Carter's century forced a tense decider which he won.

"I'm gutted to be going back home," said Bingham.

"I battled to 9-8 and missed a couple of chances to wrap the game up. Fair play to Ali, it just wasn't meant to be for me.

"It was a tough draw and I just came up short. I hope he goes on to win it now."

Carter said: "Stuart had everything to lose today and nothing to gain, that was evident at the end. I am delighted to win.

"I let him off the hook in the first session being 5-1 up. At 8-5 again, I felt I was going to win easily but he had other ideas. I just felt it was my turn."

The other match in the opening evening session saw Hong Kong's world number 14, Marco Fu, beat 2002 champion Peter Ebdon 10-2.

'Crucible Curse' strikes again

Introduced into the arena as the champion, world number two Bingham received a raucous ovation from the crowd on the first morning of play.

Having spoken beforehand about "playing with enjoyment", his body language instead betrayed a battle with his emotions, as he shook his head and smiled to himself in an opening session littered with errors.

Stuart Bingham
Bingham has not won a trophy since the 2015 World Championship

Bingham was an unlikely winner last year, having started the tournament as a 50-1 outsider, but this time he was on the receiving end of a surprise result.

His fifth first-round exit at the tournament meant the 'Crucible Curse' struck again, as no first-time winner has gone on to defend their title the following year.

"I didn't really get a clear cut chance in the last frame but I can't believe I went 9-8 in front," added Bingham. "I battled away but I didn't feel comfortable at any time.

"No first-timer has won it the next year but it is an honour to have won it, which won't be taken away from me. I did enjoy myself, it just didn't go my way. I tried keeping a smile on my face throughout the match.

"I wish could do Groundhog Day and start the match again."

Captain Carter takes off

Two-time finalist Carter's stunning result comes having been given the all-clear in December 2014 following treatment for testicular cancer, in addition to his ongoing battle with Crohn's disease.

Ali Carter
Carter came through three rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw

The world number 31 produced excellent form to win three matches in qualifying and continued his brilliance on the main stage.

Bingham admitted when the draw was made he "wished he didn't face him", and he was right to be wary as Carter extended his winning streak in their personal rivalry to seven matches.

"I thought Stuart was a good draw for anyone," said Carter.

"He hasn't had the best of season and having the pressure with the Crucible Curse. It was all set up for it to go wrong for him and that was evident at the end."

Key moments

Frame three - Nerves: Trailing 58-41, Bingham missed the yellow allowing Carter to clear the colours. He also took the next frame with a 78 break to lead 3-1.

Frame seven - The twitch: At 5-1 up, Carter potted the remaining red but failed to pocket a relatively easy green as Bingham came to the table to snatch the frame. He managed to take the next two as well.

Frame 12 - Game changer: A tactical 42-minute exchange was pinched by Carter on the black ball to gain a 7-5 advantage. A huge frame to win.

Frame 15 - Turning point? 50-39 behind, Carter missed a tricky brown after a red as Bingham cleared from yellow to pink to close to 8-7. He took the next two to stand one away from victory.

Frame 19 - Decider drama: Having made a century in the previous frame to force the decider, Carter broke down on 39 in the 19th, but got his reprieve as Bingham twice missed the pink in the same middle pocket.

'Crucible Curse'

Player (year of first win)Next year's defeatPlayer (year of first win)Next year's defeat
Terry Griffiths (1979) 13-10 by Steve Davis (R2)Mark Williams (2000) 13-12 by Joe Swail (R2)
Cliff Thorburn (1980)16-10 by Steve Davis (SF)Ronnie O'Sullivan (2001) 17-13 by Stephen Hendry (SF)
Steve Davis (1981)10-1 by Tony Knowles (R1)Peter Ebdon (2002)13-12 by Paul Hunter (R1)
Dennis Taylor (1985)10-6 by Mike Hallett (R1)Shaun Murphy (2005) 13-7 by Peter Ebdon (QF)
Joe Johnson (1986) 18-14 by Steve Davis (F)Graeme Dott (2006) 10-7 by Ian McCulloch (R1)
Stephen Hendry (1990)13-11 by Steve James(QF)Neil Robertson (2010)10-8 by Judd Trump (R1)
John Parrott (1991)13-12 by Alan McManus (QF)Mark Selby (2014)13-9 by Anthony McGill (R2)
Ken Doherty (1997)18-12 by John Higgins (F)Stuart Bingham (2015) 10-9 by Ali Carter (R1)
John Higgins (1998) 17-10 by Mark Williams (SF)First-time Crucible winners: 17First-round losses: 6; Beaten in final: 2