Stephen Hendry hails 'perfect' Zhao Xintong after British Open masterclass

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 wasn’t doing much wrong and got back into the game with an effort of 66, but Zhao killed it off with a 52 in the fifth.

Particularly over the first three frames the 25-year-old was at his sensational best and Hendry loved everything he saw from the reigning UK champion.

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

‘He’s a phenomenal middle bag potter. His touch was just there today, you don’t get these days often where everything just feels right and the game is easy. Everything was just perfection, really, 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’s going to take some beating in this tournament.’

The seven-time world champion is not just impressed with Zhao’s 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 the Cyclone is one of a very small number of players who really catches his eye when at the table and can play with a pizzazz that sets him apart.

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

‘There’s lots of great players who make lots 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 got that. He’s got the X Factor.’

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

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

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