Saturday at the Saeng Som Phuket Cup 2011

Quarter finals day in the Saeng Som Phuket Cup (Event 4: Thailand Professional Circuit) saw two matches go down to the wire while the other two games ended as whitewashes…

The comfortable victors were James Wattana, who included breaks of 66, 73 and 105 as he saw off Noppadol Saengnil 4-0, and Issara Kachaiwong, who compiled 44, 61, 64 and 69 in a solid performance to beat Poramin Danjirakul 4-0. Much closer, however, was the day’s opening match between Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Dechawat Poomjaeng. Dechawat started the more brightly, making a 95 and a 50 as he went 3-2 ahead. Thepchaiya, normally a very aggressive breakbuilder, finally got his scoring going in the sixth with a 76 to take the game to a decider, which he duly won with a further contribution of 46.

The evening game – the last of the quarter finals – was another close affair, as World No. 17 Stuart Bingham took on Thailand No. 2 Passakorn Suwannawat. The first four frames were shared, with the players taking it in turns to dominate, and the fifth was the first closely-fought affair, Bingham’s 58 allowing him to take it 68-58. Passakorn duly rallied to level the match again, but Bingham prevailed in the decider to set up a semi-final date with Issara.

Friday’s semi finals both proved to be high quality contests, as might have been anticipated. First up were James Wattana and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. The pair had met some three seasons ago in Thepchaiya’s first ever final appearance, and the 23-year old Thepchaiya had caused mild controversy when casually stating before the match that he rather fancied he might win it 5-2. His prophesy turned out to be entirely accurate, which led local officials to testily point out that it really isn’t the done thing to go around saying you think you might actually win against your elders and betters. This time however, the meeting was much closer, with Wattana’s contributions of 69, 80 and 75 matched by Thepchaiya’s runs of 113, 88 and 56 as the game went down to the seventh and final frame. Both players had chances, but it was to be Thepchaiya’s day once again as his 39 proved enough to counter Wattana’s 47 in taking the decider 78-73.

The second semi final didn’t quite live up to the example of the first in terms of scoring, but was nevertheless an enthralling contest with never more than a frame separating Bingham and Issara. The first three frames saw chances for both players as Issara opened up a 2-1 lead. Bingham then moved up a gear with a 120 clearance to level at 2-2, and then added a close fifth to put himself just one frame away from the final. Issara hit back with breaks of 30 and 54 to force the decider, but Bingham made the most of the opportunity that came his way with a decisive 87.

The final takes place on Saturday at 1pm. Stuart Bingham v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.