Snooker: Doherty hits back to deny Wattana

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The Independent Online
KEN DOHERTY produced a remarkable recovery to stun the local fans of James Wattana in Bangkok last night. The world champion trailed Wattana 4-0, but fought back to win 5-4 victory for a quarter-final place in the Thailand Masters.

"I felt genuinely sorry for James because he's always been a good pal of mine," Doherty said. "It must be especially difficult for him to take because it happened in front of his own fans."

When Wattana, winner of his home event in both 1994 and 1995, required only 61 minutes to rattle through the first four frames, he looked certain to set up a meeting with Alan McManus, a 5-1 conqueror of Ronnie O'Sullivan earlier in the day.

He accounted for the first frame with an 82 break and, more crucially, the fourth on the pink when Doherty, on a break of 50 and poised to clear up, missed it from distance.

"Even then I felt under a lot of pressure because the match was so important to me," said Wattana, who found Doherty a very different proposition after the mid-session interval.

During his recovery to 4-4, Doherty knocked in half-a-dozen breaks over 30 - the most vital being the 42 that gave him frame six after he had laid an unintentional snooker on the penultimate red. With the momentum in his favour, the tenacious Dubliner knocked in a 62 break in the decider - his highest of the contest - to round off his revival.

It was history repeating itself because in the first round of the 1993 Regal Scottish Masters in Motherwell Doherty also transformed a 4-0 deficit against Wattana into a 5-4 victory and went on to secure the title.

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