Thai ace Noppon Saengkham recovered from a jittery start in style to defeat Pakistan's Mohammad Asif 5-2 as the two cueists gave a top class finale to the 2012 Dubai International Open at Dubai Snooker Club on Saturday evening.
Noppon, the 2009 world under-21 champion who will be representing Thailand at the 2012 IBSF World Snooker Championship in Sofia later this month, was a cut above his rival when it came to potting crucial balls.
The Thai's cueing was a bit stiff in the beginning but so was his rival's. As they struggled to come to terms with their rhythm, it was Noppon who raced ahead by capturing the opening frame.
It seemed very likely that Noppon would widen the margin but Asif hit back by potting some really difficult balls and took the second frame to earn a 1-1 tie.
After Noppon had carried his lead to 3-1, Asif once again put his potting abilities on display to grab one and make it 3-2. However, Noppon then capitalised on the miscues by opponent at crucial moments to wrap up the match 5-2.
Noppon said: "It was a very good match and he is an excellent potter of the ball. I was a bit stiff in the beginning as I did not have a proper warm-up, but it seems he also hadn't come prepared to the table as well.
"I could see that he could pot from anywhere and from any angle so I was a bit wary. He missed some easy balls when he should have really potted them and that made the task easy for me.
"I am glad that I had such a game before going to the world championship. It has been an excellent preparation for me and I am now very confident."
Asif said: "I had played a much better game in the semifinals yesterday [Friday]. I don't know what went wrong today but my consistency something that I need to work upon.
"I did pot some very good balls but missed some easy ones as well and you cannot afford to do that against a player like Noppon. He was definitely the better player today."
Noppon received the winner's purse of 3,000 US dollars to go with another 1,000 US dollars for scoring the highest break of the tournament. He had a run of 125 points during his 5-1 victory over UAE's Khalid Kamali in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Asif was rewarded with 2,000 US dollars for his second place finish while the two losing semi-finalists Karam Fatima of Syria and Andy Lee of Hong Kong received 1,000 US dollars each.