Stephen Hendry pays tribute to the ‘perfect’ Zhao Xintong after the British Open masterclass

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Six

Zhao Xintong produced a sublime performance at the British Open on Tuesday (Image: Getty Images)

Stephen Hendry could hardly offer Zhao Xintong higher praise after his 4-1 win over STuart Bingham at the British Open, describing him as ‘perfect’ during the sublime win.

The Cyclone was in spectacular form against the former world champion, racing into a 3-0 lead with breaks of 112, 128 and 101.

Bingham didn’t miss much, getting back into the game with a 66 effort, but Zhao killed it with a 52 in the fifth.

Over the first three frames in particular, the 25-year-old was at his sensational best and Hendry loved everything he saw from the reigning British champion.

‘He was just fantastic, he played beautifully today. He just oozed class with everything he did,’ Hendry told ITV4.

‘He is a phenomenal middle bag potter. His touch was just there today, it’s not often these days that everything just feels right and the game is easy. Everything was just perfect, truly from Zhao Xintong. Everything was perfect.

‘The superlatives, you can run out of them for the way he played today and if he keeps this form up then he will take some beating in this tournament.’

The seven-time world champion is not only impressed with Zhaos, but has enjoyed watching his rise up the rankings after the Chinese star won the UK Championship and German Masters last season.

The Scot says Cyclone is one of a very small number of players who really catch his eye when he sits at the table, and who can play with a pizzazz that sets him apart.

“There’s only a handful of players in the game that really stand out when you watch them play and you think they’ve got that little bit of stardust, that star quality,” Hendry said.

‘There are lots of great players who make a lot of centuries but they don’t look like that, they don’t have that little bit extra.

‘Zhao Xintong, when he plays like that, has it. He’s got the X Factor.’

Zhao beat compatriot Bai Langning in the first round before downing Bingham and will discover his third-round opponent on Tuesday night in the British Open’s random draw.

He was very pleased with his performance against Ballrun, saying: ‘I played well the first three frames, never missed a shot, I played well.’

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