Neil Robertson booked his place in the second round of the Betfred World Championship, defeating Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 10-4.
The 2010 World Champion picked up his only silverware of the campaign in the opening event at the Riga Masters. After displaying impressive form over the last two days, he’ll be hoping he can double his title tally at the final and most significant event of the season.
Though he was defeated, Saengkham can take solace from the fact that in qualifying, he became just the fourth Thai player to compete at the Crucible after James Wattana, Tai Pichit and Dechawat Poomjaeng.
Robertson came into this afternoon’s session with an 8-1 advantage, following a dominant display yesterday afternoon.
Saengkham embarked upon his substantial task admirably. He fought hard to take a tight opener, winning an intricate safety battle on the green, to reduce his deficit to 8-2. The Thai then made a break of 54 on his way to taking the second frame of the afternoon.
The world number nine reasserted his dominance with a run of 70, but Saengkham took the following frame to make it 9-4 and ensure the match reached an interval. When they returned Robertson made light work of finishing off the tie, stringing together 76 to run out a 10-4 winner.
Afterwards the Australian was buoyed by the solid win and also discussed his problems with addiction to video games like FIFA and League of Legends.
“I’m very happy to get through.The damage was done yesterday and I clearly took full advantage of his nerves on his debut. I seemed to punish all his mistakes yesterday and overall it was a very professional performance,” said the 12 time ranking winner. “Today he didn’t have the pressure and he knocked in a lot of great balls and nicked a few back. But from 8-1 you have to not turn up to get beat, I’m pleased to get through.
“Even when I was a teenager, gaming probably stopped me from moving to England and making it on the tour a couple of years earlier than I did. It got to the point that my mum would have to create an account and log on to see if I was actually gaming instead of playing snooker. I’ve got quite an addictive personality, if I start doing something I try and do it to the best of my ability, which is why I wouldn’t dare picking up a golf club! I’ve decided to make a clean break from gaming. I can’t play them. Once I turn the computer on, I can easily play for twelve hours straight.”
Stuart Bingham recovered from a slow start against Kyren Wilson, but still trails the Warrior 5-3 after the opening session of their second round tie.
Both players had opportunities in the early exchanges, but it was Wilson who was the more clinical. He made breaks of 71 and 70 as he surged to a 5-0 lead.
The 2015 Shanghai Masters winner was in the balls with a chance to go 6-0 ahead. However, he broke down and allowed Bingham to compile a run of 52 to get his first frame on the board. The 2015 Crucible Champion then claimed the final two frames of the afternoon to reduce the deficit to 5-3.