Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham delighted the home fans by overcoming defending champion Ding Junhui 5-1 in their opening group A tie at the Sangsom Six Red World Championship in Bangkok.
Ding became Six Red World Champion in dramatic fashion last year, beating Stuart Bingham 8-7 on the final black. Today’s defeat leaves him with a difficult task to make it past the group stage and remain in the hunt for the 3.5 Million Baht first prize (around £81,000), with only two of the four players progressing.
Saengkham, who made his Crucible debut earlier this year, recovered from losing the opening frame by winning five in a row to secure the win. That included a maximum break of 75 in the fourth, before securing the victory with a contribution of 52.
Saengkham said: “I’m quite capable of winning here and the prize money is very attractive, but there is still some way to go and I have to face Tom Ford and Lyu Haotian before the knockout stages so there is no point in thinking far ahead.”
Ford defeated Lyu 5-2 to keep in touch with Saengkham at the top end of group A.
Two-time Six Red World Champion Mark Davis continued to show his prowess in the short format of the sport with a 5-3 defeat of Liang Wenbo.
Thai snooker legend James Wattana rallied from 3-1 and 4-2 down to force a deciding frame with Northern Ireland Open Champion Mark King, but it was the Englishman who took it to claim an opening 5-4 win.
2015 champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh recorded an impressive 5-3 defeat of Kyren Wilson and two-time Crucible winner Mark Williams opened his account with a 5-1 win over Iran’s Soheil Vahedi.
Marco Fu saw off veteran Welshman Darren Morgan 5-2 and recent Paul Hunter Classic winner Michael White beat Ben Woollaston 5-2.
For full results click here. For group tables click here.
2017 Prize Money (Thai Baht)
Last 16 150,000
Third in Group 75,000
First Round 50,000
Total Prize Fund 10,000,000