2023 World Grand Prix – Ronnie goes out to Noppon Saengkham in the L16 round

Noppon Saengkham beat Ronnie by 4-2 in the last 16 round at the 2023 World Grand Prix. Ronnie was the defending champion and started well, winning the first two frames but was outplayed from the third frame on.

Here are the scores:

Noppon was by far the better player from the third frame on. Ronnie made too many mistakes, and looked under pressure whilst Noppon looked focused and calm. This defeat means that Ronnie’s chances to play in the Players Championship are now extremely thin. He will probably need to make the final at the Welsh Open for that to happen and that looks very unlikely considering the way he’s playing at the moment and the lack of confidence that was obvious today as soon as Noppon started to come back.

Here is the report by WST:

Thai number one Noppon Saengkham recorded his first ever victory against seven-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, coming through a 4-2 winner at the Duelbits World Grand Prix in Cheltenham.

The shock win continues Saengkham’s excellent showing so far this week. He’s already beaten four-time Crucible king Mark Selby 4-1 in the opening round and now progresses to face an in form Mark Williams in the quarter-finals.

Saengkham had lost all three of his previous encounters with 39-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan, but today’s result sees him finally get a win over the Rocket.

O’Sullivan now has it all to do to qualify for the next stage of the Duelbits Series, the Players Championship. Only the top 16 on the one-year list will earn a place in Wolverhampton and the 47-year-old must at least make the semi-finals of the Welsh Open to stand a chance of qualifying.

It was O’Sullivan who made the strongest start this evening, with a break of 70 to take the opening frame. Saengkham had an opportunity to take the second, but broke down on 53 and O’Sullivan stepped up to make it 2-0.

From that moment it was Saengkham who took a stranglehold on proceedings. Breaks of 68 and 96 helped him into a 3-2 lead and a superb long range pink in the sixth got him over the line a 4-2 victor.

I feel over the moon, because Ronnie is a hero for all snooker players. It isn’t easy to beat him. I had to beat my heart first,” said world number 33 Saengkham. “I still want to win a trophy. I want this week to be my week.

It is a good test for me to beat Ronnie. I had to do something to beat him. I had to beat him to help myself to do something bigger in the future. It is a good day for me.

Here what Ronnie had to say on twitter:

Congrats to Noppon, he played amazing and potted some great balls. He’s a really improved player. I gave it my best, it wasn’t good enough on the day. But I’ll be back!!

With some images:

Here are some more quotes By Ronnie, as reported by Phil Haigh

He played amazing, potted some great balls, great positional play. He just played brilliant, he’s such an improved player,

I watched him play Selby, he played some fantastic stuff and he carried it on today. I’ve got no complaints, I gave it my best and it wasn’t good enough on the day.’

I don’t know if I played well or bad, I just gave it my best and it wasn’t good enough on the day.

I was 2-0 up, he managed to reel four frames off on the spin, played some good stuff, every credit to him.

You can’t begrudge anyone victories in any sport or any game. Very rarely have I lost a game that I think I’ve deserved to win.

On the prospect of missing the Players Championship, and then the prestigious Tour Championship for the top eight on the one-year list in April, the Rocket added: ‘I don’t really know. I don’t really worry myself with making events or making cuts.

I just play every tournament as it is, enjoy playing, enjoy competing. If I don’t make the Players Championship I’ll just fill my time up doing exhibitions.

I just love playing, I enjoy being on the road and the thought of not being on the road is not a good feeling.’

Noppon Saengkham totally deserved the win. Good luck to him in the rest of the tournament.

10 thoughts on “2023 World Grand Prix – Ronnie goes out to Noppon Saengkham in the L16 round

  1. I don’t agree. I think Ronnie plays to extremely high standard atm. His comittment is as good as it has ever been. No lack of confidence at all imo. Maybe he had a few too much tactical errors, but Noppons positional play was messy in the winning clearance, so hadn’t he potted some outstanding rescue shots, Ronnie could have won the decider in the blink of an eye. Therefore I don’t know If Iwould call Noppon the best by player ‘by far’ either but he certainly fully deserved the win and I was pleased for him.

    • He plays at a very high standard in many matches but not consistently. That’s been the story so far this season. As Csilla mentioned, it could be age but it’s too early to write him off. We have been there before and, frankly, he has nothing to prove.

      • Tbh that’s the story of his career but because he is so talented that’s not a big deal I guess. You could turn Csilla’s argument around and say because of his age, what we see, is a high standard, not despite it. But judging by what he had to say after the match we should be pleased. No grumpiness there. And if he plays the Championship League, which he entered, he will still have a bunch of matches to play in, even if they are short format.

      • Ronnie is keen to share his running on Strava these days. He covers a lot of miles every week, and according to his own comments, he is running injury free and loving it. It seems that he rates injury-free running higher than snooker these days, so he is probably happy either way.

  2. It was pretty awful. Yes, Noppon played well, but Ronnie had many opportunities and just made one mistake after another. Well, it was a bad season so far: he played some good matches, but never really got going. So far it was a waste and it is hard to see it would be fixed in the upcoming two (Welsh and Worlds) he has remained. But then maybe it’s just age catching up with him as it seems with Higgins, who also had a crappy season.

  3. I fully expected Ronnie to lose to Ding/Williams in the next round, but I didn’t think he would lose to Noppon. That was a surprise.

    Despite the fact that Ronnie has won 2 prestigious events this season, I still can’t help but feel disappointed with his season thus far. If he doesn’t win the WSC, I have to think this season will ultimately feel like it was wasted and a failure.

    Hopefully Ronnie is at least enjoying himself away from the table…

  4. this is bad now. you’re not just supposed to lose a L16 game to Noppon Saengkham. Mark Williams okay, Saengkham seriously not okay.
    something needs fixing

  5. As I wrote:

    Ronnie is so shit this season. And he blames only himself. For not showing any interests during the first half of the season at the ranking events. HE DESERVES to miss rest of the Duelbits series in this year (unfortunately).

    Personally I do not care that Noppon started to play well after Ronnie let him off the hook. A bit similat against MJW at the Masters.
    Started well looked very focused one or two missed shots and the whole thing has changed…

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