Leeds cueman Sanderson Lam causes Northern Ireland Open upset

SANDERSON Lam believes his performances in Belfast have seen him finally turned a corner after potting his way to a rampant 4-0 victory over Alan McManus at the Coral Northern Ireland Open.

Sanderson Lam.

The Leeds cueman has had a rather disappointing season to date, losing in the first round of his last four tournaments until taking to the table at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre.

But Monday’s first-round win over Wang Luchen suggested a hint of improvement for the world No.93, with his form finally hitting top spot in Wednesday’s second-round victory over McManus – the man who had knocked out Stephen Maguire.

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And for Lam his whitewash success was a relief as much as anything else, finally ending a run of poor performances in recent tournaments.

“I’m happy with the way I played. Before the match I felt really good, my cueing and the game as a whole just seemed to be clicking so I was very happy,” he said.

“I’ve been really struggling over the past couple of tournaments, but I’ve worked very hard over the past few weeks to get back on-track and I feel my game is properly coming back together again now.

“Even in my first match, it was a first win in a while and that’s something that gives you a lot of confidence.

“Hopefully that can feed into the rest of the tournament. I feel that if I play at that level then there is that possibility of going well for the rest of the week and the season.”

Despite being seeded 86th for the tournament, Lam is confident that Belfast is the place where he can make his mark.

A run in the Coral Northern Ireland Open would go against the grain of form though, a run which included defeat to Yan Bingtao in the early stages of last month’s Coral English Open.

But with Ding Junhui and Shaun Murphy among those already departing at the early stages, the 22-year-old feels there is an opportunity to showcase exactly what he is about – so long as he can find consistency in his game.

He added: “It’s about putting it all together for a prolonged period, there’s not going to be a lot that comes your way if you’re not consistent or not firing on all cylinders through the match.

“There is an opportunity for players like me to do something, of that I have no doubt, a lot of people can beat the top players on their day now, particularly in this format.

“In a best-of-seven anything can happen, even the first frame can define your match and you can get people on the back-foot straight away.

“If I play like I did in that game then there’s no reason why I can’t win the competition.”

Lam takes on Iran’s Hossein Vafaei Ayouri in Thursday’s last-32 match.

But Sheffield’s Adam Duffy suffered a second-round exit, losing 4-3 to Peter Ebdon.

Watch the Northern Ireland Open LIVE on Eurosport 1 and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.