Jack Lisowski and Noppon Saengkham will face each other in the first round of the 2023 World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
This season for Jack Lisowski
Another season and another year in which we are still wondering when Jack Lisowski is going to get his hands on some silverware.
How a player of his talent is unable to force his way beyond that final hurdle is a mystery that continues to baffle many within the game.
Although in many respects, it isn’t really a mystery. It’s Lisowski’s continued inability to hold his nerve in the bigger moments that has held him back.
The 31 year-old from Cheltenham should have won semi-final battles in the UK Championship to Mark Allen and the German Masters to Tom Ford this term.
He lost in deciding frames in both and was bagelled in another last-four clash in the Masters to Mark Williams, meaning he goes into this year’s edition of the World Championship with that monkey still firmly glued to his back.
This season for Nopon Saengkham
Noppon Saengkham’s 2022/23 snooker season may come to be defined by his terrific black to beat Zhang Anda 10-9 in the final round of the qualifiers.
The popular Thai will likely end the campaign inside the world’s top 32, and it could be much better depending on his continued progress in Sheffield.
During this campaign, Saengkham has bowed out in the opening hurdle of a lot of ranking events.
But there have been strong performances mixed in there with runs to the semi-finals in both the British Open and the World Grand Prix, in addition to last-16 appearances in the Shoot Out and the WST Classic.
In his last two Crucible appearances Saengkham has reached the second round, so he has a few fond memories to recall ahead of his return to the sport’s spiritual home.
Somewhat surprisingly given their respective tenures on the main tour, Lisowski and Saengkham have never played each other.
Saengkham has built a reputation as a strong competitor who can more than hold his own against the game’s best players on his day.
Yet if Lisowski brings anywhere close to his A-game, there should really be only one winner out there. The key question is, will he live up to the billing?
After coming so close to reaching the single table setup last year – only just losing to John Higgins in a quarter-final decider – Lisowski will be eager to impress again in Sheffield.
Prediction: Jack Lisowski 10-7 Noppon Saengkham
Tuesday, April 18th – 10am
Wednesday, April 19th – 10am
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Featured photo credit: WST
I’m backing the Thai here as his matchplay nous is greater. He’s almost beaten Selby in a best of 25 in Sheffield to underline my point about the strength of his tactical game. Lisowski 9-10 Noppon