MUMBAI:Thepchaiya Un-Nooh may not really like to experiment with Indian curries, but the Thai player has shown great appetite for risky play to enter the last-16 of the Indian Open snooker tournament. Having beaten the top seed and defending champion Ding Junhui in the first round, Un-Nooh dismissed the ‘next big thing’ in the sport—Luca Brecel—4-0 in Mumbai on Thursday.
The fourth and final frame was the exclamation mark on his sparkling form this week. Beginning with potting a difficult red in the far corner, till the weighted hit on the black to finish off the board with a break of 137 in the fourth, Un-Nooh was utterly confident and courageous. He had won the earlier frames 65-9, 72-39, 72-71.
“I like taking risks, I like to go for the more difficult shots,” said the Thai of his safety-last approach. The win on Thursday was his first over the young Belgian and also saw him record his best performance in a ranking event.
“It has been a really good week for me. Today was really important because I have lost to him four times before this, and it was important for my confidence to finally win over him. I don’t think I have played better than this even in practice in Sheffield (England),” he added.
The wiry 29-year-old is part of the Thai contingent that has based itself in England for the pro circuit. He has been on the tour for six years now and is usually known to be a mercurial player in the snooker circle. But Un-Nooh, currently ranked No 61, hasn’t been able to temper his talent so well before this.
On Thursday, the Bangkok native missed the best break of the tournament so far – 138 by England’s Stuart Carrington—by one point. “I started thinking about the record once I went past 70,” he admitted.
There are 5,000 pounds on offer for the highest break in the tournament. And with four matches to go, starting with the round of 16 against Wales’ Jamie Jones on Friday, the in-form Un-Nooh looks as good as any player to pocket the bonus.
It has been a wild ride for this wild card entrant so far.