Saengkham into World Grand Prix semis after Williams scalp
Giant killer Noppon Saengkham claimed yet another scalp as he defeated Mark Williams 5-3 to advance to the World Grand Prix semi-finals.
The popular Thai cueist had reached the last eight courtesy of a pair of 4-2 victories over Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan – recovering from 2-0 down to reel off four successive frames against the latter.
And he claimed the scalp of yet another multiple World champion and Triple Crown winner on Thursday, this time overcoming Williams at the Centaur in Cheltenham.
Despite being pegged back to 3-3 from 2-0 up, Saengkham held his nerve to secure a spot in his fourth ranking semi-final.
Fresh from denying world number one O’Sullivan, the 28th seed quickly settled into his rhythm with 163 unanswered points – including a break of 93 – for an early 2-0 advantage.
Masters runner-up Williams – appearing in his sixth quarter-final of the season – hit back with a top run of 85 as he levelled at 3-3.
Despite falling behind again at 4-3, the Welshman looked set to force a decider after a run of 67 in frame eight. However, Saengkham rallied to reduce the deficit before eventually snatching victory on the black.
His reward is a showdown with Mark Allen, who saw off Jack Lisowski in a gruelling battle of the left-handers.
With neither player at their brilliant best, a real seesaw contest developed with the two of them never separated by more than a single frame.
But just like he did in their UK Championship semi-final two months ago, Allen prevailed with a run of 67 in the decider eventually proving enough to drag him over the line.
Earlier in the day, Judd Trump took just over an hour to book his quarter-final place after a commanding 4-0 whitewash of Luca Brecel.
The recently crowned Masters champion, who had breaks of 79, 72, 62 and 59, will play Xiao Guodong after the two-time ranking finalist overcame Ryan Day 4-1.
Meanwhile, 2016 winner Shaun Murphy beat Kyren Wilson 4-2 with contributions of 79 and 100 along the way. Next up for the Magician is a showdown with Anthony McGill, who fired breaks of 131, 78, 76 and 55 in a dominant 4-0 win over Sam Craigie.
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World Grand Prix 2023 Results
Thursday January 19
Luca Brecel 0-4 Judd Trump
Xiao Guodong 4-1 Ryan Day
Kyren Wilson 2-4 Shaun Murphy
Sam Craigie 0-4 Anthony McGill
Mark Allen 5-4 Jack Lisowski
Noppon Saengkham 5-3 Mark Williams