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Mumbai lad Aditya Mehta scored a stunning 6-4 victory over World No 10 Stuart Bingham in pro snooker's £600,000 International Championship at Chengdu on Tuesday. Mehta, ranked 71 in the world, was up 4 frames to none, before the experienced Essex pro levelled the scores at 4-all.
Mehta, one of the lowest ranked cue players to qualify for the elite event, had beaten local Chinese Zhu Yinghui in the wildcard round, but he definitely punched above his weight in prevailing over the resurgent Englishman, showing ice-cool temperament to impose his game as he won the last two frames to claim the contest. He next plays World No 2 Judd Trump for a place in the quarters.
"It's massive for me and India, for the last time anyone made the Last 16 of Venue stages was 20 years ago when Yasin Merchant did," Mehta said from Chengdu. "It's great to get two round wins in China where the atmosphere
Mehta had induced frustration into the smug Englishman when he raced to a 4-0 lead. In the interval after the four frames, he expected Bingham to come all guns blazing. "I got under pressure because of the 4-0 lead and made some uncharacteristic errors, and allowed him to come back. But I always back myself in close matches," said Mehta, who will ring in his 27th birthday on Wednesday. "I didn't want to start my birthday with a loss, so this is great!" One frame away from the win in the 11-frame contest, he piled on the pressure to secure the biggest win of his career. "I've had a few big wins, but nothing compares to the Venue stages (like a main draw) of a snooker pro event," he said.
Yasin Merchant called this a big boost for Indian snooker, adding, "Aditya showed great maturity after Bingham levelled at 4-4, I'm very impressed for Bingham's a tough nut to crack."