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August 5, 2020

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Ex-world champion Murphy upset by Thai outsider

Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham pulled off the biggest upset so far at the world championships by ousting 2005 champion Shaun Murphy in the first round in Sheffield yesterday.

Saengkham — ranked 42 in the world — beat 10th-seeded Murphy 10 frames to 4 to book a second-round meeting with either three-time champion Mark Selby or Jordan Brown. Murphy refused to put his under-par performance down to the death last month of his close friend and former manager Brandon Parker. “I came here wanting to honor Brandon’s memory as well as I could,” said Murphy. “You dream of winning the title and dedicating it to him. But I would never dishonor him by saying that has caused me a problem. This is just a snooker tournament. I tried my absolute best, and I lost.” Murphy, 37, had been in fine fettle prior to the coronavirus lockdown, winning two ranking events in a season for the first time in his career. However, the 2015 world finalist had little answer to his 28-year-old Thai opponent, who had lost in the first round on his only previous appearance at the Crucible Theatre. Saengkham had led 6-3 overnight.


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