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Stephen Hendry, the world champion, yesterday launched a critical attack on the playing conditions at the Thailand Open, after edging through his first round match, 5-4, against the Irishman Terry Murphy. "The cloth is like an Axminster carpet - it's too thick and is bringing down the standard of play," he said.

THAILAND OPEN (Bangkok) First round: S Hendry (Sco) bt T Murphy (N Irl) 5-4; J Higgins (Sco) bt G Dott (Sco) 5-3; J Swail (N Irl) bt D Harold (Eng) 5-4; P Ebdon (Eng) bt G Ponting (Eng) 5-0.