Stuart Bingham became the latest top-16 player to crash out of the UK Championship on Monday after a dramatic 6-5 defeat to Noppon Saengkham in York.
The 2015 world champion spectacularly fought his back from 5-0 down to force a decider, only to sit and watch as his opponent compiled a gutsy 121 century break to clinch it.
Saengkham had earlier dominated the initial exchanges – making breaks of 131, 64, 61, 56, and 53 to open up a commanding lead.
When the 29 year-old subsequently lost five in succession he definitely became the second favourite again, but he held his nerve together in terrific fashion to book a last-16 meeting with Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“When I was 5-0 up, I had a lot of confidence,” Noppon Saengkham, the world number 45, said in his post-match interview with the World Snooker Tour.
“I really enjoyed it, I had no safety today and I tried to fight for every ball to get the shot. When it was 5-5 I was still happy, and I believed I can win.”
“I went to the toilet and told myself that I’m really happy to play with the (former) world champion. Whether I would win or lose the next frame, I was so happy.
“So when I went back to the game, I just told myself to believe and give me one shot. He gave me the shot and I cleared up, it was very exciting.
“It’s my target to play against Ronnie O’Sullivan, because I want to learn something from him. If I’m good enough, I can beat him in the next match, so I hope I can do very well against him.
“Ronnie and Mark Selby are both of my heroes, and that’s why I’m very excited to play with Ronnie – I’m so happy to play with him.”
O’Sullivan sealed his berth in the fourth round earlier on day six at the Barbican Centre after a 6-3 victory against Mark King.
Elsewhere, there were triumphs for English trio Kyren Wilson, Barry Hawkins, and Jack Lisowski – respectively overcoming Wu Yize, Cao Yupeng, and Graeme Dott.
Three-time UK winner John Higgins crashed out, however, following a 6-5 reverse to Zhao Xintong, which ends the Scotsman’s aspirations of reaching a fourth final in a row this season.
Anthony McGill, Ben Woollaston, and veteran Andy Hicks were the others to make it through to the next stage of the prestigious Triple Crown event.
On Tuesday, the third round concludes with the likes of Judd Trump, Mark Allen, and Stephen Maguire rejoining the fray.
Live coverage of the UK Championship is on the BBC and Eurosport. Click here for other available options around the world.
Featured photo credit: WST