Mur­phy out af­ter his ‘worst two days’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Then And Now - Snooker By Mark Stan­i­forth

For­mer cham­pion Shaun Mur­phy be­moaned “the worst two days of my snooker years” af­ter los­ing 10-4 to Thai­land’s Nop­pon Saengkham in the first round of the World Cham­pi­onship.

Saengkham ex­ploited a se­ries of un­char­ac­ter­is­tic er­rors from Mur­phy as he built on a 6-3 overnight ad­van­tage to be­come only the third Thai to win a match in Cru­cible his­tory.

Af­ter­wards, Mur­phy stressed his per­for­mance had not been af­fected by the re­cent sud­den death of his for­mer man­ager and men­tor Brandon Parker, whose fu­neral he at­tended in the Al­garve last month.

Mur­phy, the 2005 world cham­pion, told BBC Sport: “I was very much be­low par across the whole match – prob­a­bly the worst two days of my snooker years came to­gether at the worst pos­si­ble time.

“My form has been good this sea­son with two ti­tles and other fi­nals, so this was a shock to me.

“And I can say that the build-up to the tour­na­ment had no im­pact. I came here want­ing to hon­our Brandon’s me­mory.

“You dream of win­ning the ti­tle and ded­i­cat­ing it to him and things like that. But I would never dis­hon­our him by say­ing that has caused me a prob­lem.”

Saengkham, who ad­mit­ted he barely slept on Mon­day night, showed no sign of nerves as he pro­duced breaks of 53 and 63 to ex­tend his ad­van­tage to five frames.

A rare missed red en­abled Mur­phy to re­duce the deficit, but fur­ther breaks of 60 and 74 ei­ther side of the mid-ses­sion in­ter­val saw Saengkham home.

Saengkham es­ti­mated that up to one mil­lion peo­ple would have watched the match in a coun­try whose ap­petite for snooker was largely cul­ti­vated by the ex­ploits of two-time Cru­cible semi-fi­nal­ist James Wat­tana.

He said: “James taught me ev­ery­thing – how to come here and speak the lan­guage. He taught me how to get through be­cause for an Asian player to come to the UK is dif­fi­cult.

“I felt a lot of pres­sure but I just tried to con­cen­trate and not think about all those peo­ple watch­ing me.”

Mark Selby laboured to a 10-6 win over qual­i­fier Jor­dan Brown while an­other qual­i­fier, Martin Gould, fired four cen­turies en route to es­tab­lish­ing a 7-2 lead against ninth seed Stephen Maguire.

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