Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham took the last three frames of the session to draw level at 4-4 with 31-time ranking event winner John Higgins in their second round tie at the Betfred World Championship.
Saengkham enjoyed a double celebration after his first round match, with the birth of his new daughter named Believe. That came shortly before his tournament opening 10-5 victory against Luca Brecel.
Scotland’s four-time Crucible king Higgins is still searching for a first ranking title of the season, having fallen short in four finals. He came through a tricky opening round clash 10-7 against Saengkham’s compatriot Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Saengkham had chances in all of the first three frames this morning, but it was Higgins who crafted breaks of 59 and 82 on his way to a 3-0 advantage. Saengkham crucially stole the last frame before the interval, punching the air after depositing a frame ball final black.
When play resumed, Higgins restored his three-frame lead thanks to a break of 90. That proved to be his last of the morning with Saengkham taking three on the bounce, including a 44-minute final frame, to end at 4-4. They return at 7pm to play the second session of this best of 25 clash.
On the other table, 2015 Crucible king Stuart Bingham opened up 5-3 lead over 2020 finalist Kyren Wilson.
The pair last met in a high quality encounter at the Masters earlier this year. It was Wilson who emerged a 6-5 victor at Alexandra Palace. The Warrior also leads the head-to-head standings between the pair 5-2.
Bingham made breaks of 75, 54 and 57 on his way to earning his 5-3 lead this morning. They will resume this evening at 7pm.