Noppon Saengkham
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Noppon Saengkham ‘Surprised’ After Beating Shaun Murphy

The “Magician” couldn’t find the magic touch as he bowed out at the opening hurdle for the third time in five years.

Noppon Saengkham is through to the last 16 of the World Snooker Championship after a magnificent 10-4 triumph over Shaun Murphy on Tuesday.

Three times a finalist and the 2005 champion, the latter was among the favourites for glory in Sheffield this year.

But Murphy never really got going and rued a succession of unforced errors that gifted his opponent several unexpected chances.

To his credit, Saengkham played extremely well on what was only his second appearance at the Crucible Theatre.

The 28 year-old lost the first frame but never looked back after winning four on the bounce to establish a 4-1 advantage.

Playing patiently and waiting for the mistakes that inevitably came from his esteemed opponent, Saengkham scored solidly with eight half-century breaks helping him to the winning scoreline.

Thailand has enjoyed a rich history in the sport over the course of the last three decades, but Saengkham amazingly represents only the third player from the country to win a match at the venue stages of the World Championship.

Thai legend James Wattana twice embarked on runs to the last four during the 1990s, while Dechawat Poomjaeng reached the last 16 in 2013.

“I was just thinking about playing it shot by shot, and that’s why I won today,” Saengkham said in his post-match interview.

“I was really surprised because Shaun is really a very good player. When I go to a competition, there’s always pressure and my hand is always shaking. I just tried to concentrate on the table, and (take it) shot by shot.”

Next up for the former Welsh Open and World Open semi-finalist will be the winner of the tie between Mark Selby and Jordan Brown, with the three-time champion currently 5-4 in front after the first session.

For Murphy, it’s a disappointing climax to what was otherwise a very good campaign for the Englishman.

The 37 year-old bagged a brace of ranking titles this term but undoubtedly must have been affected by the recent death of former manager and close friend Brandon Parker.

Murphy travelled to Portugal for the funeral on the eve of the tournament and was required to isolate inside a bubble upon his return to England last week.

Murphy is only the third seed to exit this year’s event so far after David Gilbert and Jack Lisowski.

In the other encounter of the morning on day five, Mark Allen scored four century breaks but boasts only a narrow 5-4 lead over debutant Jamie Clarke.

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  1. Pingback: Jamie Clarke Stuns Five-Ton Mark Allen - SnookerHQ

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