Noppon trailed by a frame as O’Sullivan missed a rudimentary red while leading 34-6 in frame four, thus allowing the 27-year-old the opportunity to level the match ahead of the mid-session interval.
Yet, with two reds marooned on the side cushion, a frame-winning break looked unlikely. However, the Thai player rejected to play safe to line up a difficult-looking plant that he would see come back off the jaw of the pocket.
What happened next - the ball coming off the cushion with a healthy portion of side to nestle in the pocket - left the world number 34 puffing out his cheeks as O’Sullivan initially looked to be fuming before breaking out into a broad smile and then bursting into laughter.
The Noppon Saengkham fluke that left Ronnie O’Sullivan cracking up
WHAT THEY SAID
“Where’s this red? It is still going towards the pocket. Wow. How significant will that be?
“That was very fortunate…there is a smile on O’Sullivan’s face. Well, half a smile.
Well, now a full smile.
He has probably caught sight of one of the other players on one of the other tables and is probably having a friendly nod and a wink at them.
“You can’t help but watch the other matches in such an open-plan environment.”
“Flukes are all part of the game, but he was king of the fluker out there today. I want to buy them flukes off of him.”
Hobbling O'Sullivan in fine form after win over 'King of the flukes' Noppon Saengkham
SO, DID NOPPON WIN THE FRAME?
Nope, he missed the very next red. O’Sullivan would come out of the ensuing safety exchange – even if though Noppon lucked out again then – to win the frame and then eventually the match 5-2 to set up a last-16 showdown with Ding Junhui.