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James Wattana at 2013 German Masters
January 17, 1970 |
Tong Sit Choi (in Thailand)
|Highest ranking||3 (1994/95)|
|Highest break||147 (x3)|
|Asian Indoor Games|
A professional between 1989 and 2008 and again from 2009 to 2014, Wattana reached his highest ranking position - 3rd - for the 1994/1995 season. He has won three ranking tournaments - the 1992 Strachan Challenge and the Thailand Open in 1994 and 1995 - and has finished as the runner-up in a further five. He twice reached the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship, in 1993 and 1997.
Wattana won his first major tournament, the Camus Thailand Masters, in 1986, aged only 16. He turned professional in 1989, after winning the 1988 World Amateur Championship. His career peaked in the mid-1990s, when he twice won the Thailand Open and rose to number three in the world rankings. Prior to Wattana becoming a professional, snooker had been dominated by British (and to a lesser extent Irish, Canadian and Australian) players.
He was the eighth professional player to earn more than £1 million in prize money, and with three maximums he is one of only seven players to have scored more than two maximum breaks in competition. He scored his first one in 1991 at the World Masters and the second at the 1992 British Open, which was then, at six minutes and nine seconds, the fastest ever made.
Wattana's success caught the imagination of the Thai public, and he became the most admired sportsman in his home country. He helped raise the profile of the game in the Far East, and has been followed into the game by many players from Thailand, Hong Kong, and China, the most successful ones being Marco Fu and Ding Junhui. He is a Commander Third Class of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand, only the second sportsman to receive the country's most prestigious civilian honour.
He reached the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship in 1993 and 1997, in the latter losing narrowly to Stephen Hendry. After a strong 2004/2005 season he returned to the top 32 of the world rankings, despite being the first player since 1992 to lose a World Championship match 10–0. He did this in the final qualifying round against Allister Carter. By 2007 his continued poor form meant that he dropped off the main tour in 2008. He continued to play, however, and in 2008 he entered the World Amateur Championships in Wels, Austria where he lost to eventual champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in last 16. He won the 2009 Asian Championships in Tangshan, China after beating Mei Xiwen 7–3 in the final.
His position on the current provisional rankings received a huge boost with a run to the venue stage of the China Open thanks to four straight qualifying victories.
The 2011/12 season proved to be relatively good, managing to qualify in 2 of the 8 ranking events, the Shanghai Masters losing to Ronnie O'Sullivan 1–5 and the German Masters, beating Stephen Hendry 5–1 in the qualifiers, but then losing to Graeme Dott in the first round. At the end of the season he finished ranked 63, just inside the top 64.
In 2014, he lost his place on the professional snooker circuit, as he finished outside the top 64 on the official world rankings list at the end of the 2013/2014 season. However, he was one of three players awarded an invitational tour card for the next season - alongside Hendry and Steve Davis - and has since competed fairly regularly in tournaments as an amateur. In 2015 he lost in the first round of the qualifiers for the World Championship 3-10 to Jimmy White. In 2016 he lost in the first round of the qualifiers for the World Championship 6-10 to Peter Ebdon.
Ranking finals: 8 (3 titles, 5 runner-up)
|World Championship (0–0)|
|UK Championship (0–0)|
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Runner-up||1.||1989||Asian Open||Hendry, StephenStephen Hendry||6–9|
|Winner||1.||1992||Strachan Open||Parrott, JohnJohn Parrott||9–5|
|Runner-up||2.||1992||British Open||White, JimmyJimmy White||7–10|
|Runner-up||3.||1993||British Open||Davis, SteveSteve Davis||2–10|
|Runner-up||4.||1994||International Open||, John ParrottJohn Parrott||4–9|
|Winner||2.||1994||Thailand Open||Davis, SteveSteve Davis||9–7|
|Runner-up||5.||1994||British Open||O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan||4–9|
|Winner||3.||1995||Thailand Open||O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan||9–6|
Non-ranking wins: (6)
- Thailand Masters – 1986
- Hong Kong Challenge – 1990
- Humo Masters – 1992
- World Matchplay – 1992
- Kings Cup - 1994
- Euro-Asia Masters Challenge, Leg 1 – 2003
- ACBS Asian Championship – 1986, 1988, 2009
- IBSF World Amateur Championship – 1988
- "James Wattana". snooker.org. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Career-total Statistics for James Wattana - Professional". CueTracker Snooker Results & Statistics Database. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
- "Centuries". Pro Snooker Blog. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
- Turner, Chris. "Maximum Breaks". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- Hodgson, Guy. "O'Sullivan aims to realise maximum potential". The Independent on HighBeam Research. Retrieved 27 May 2012. (subscription required)
- Hodgson, Guy (1993-04-18). "Snooker: A storm coming in from the East:... James Wattana might just become one.". The Independent. Retrieved 1 Mar 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Wattana.|
- "Official player profile of James Wattana". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. "Players Alphabetical" section. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- James Wattana at CueTracker.net: Snooker Results and Statistic Database
- Player Profile on Pro Snooker Blog
- Player Profile on billiardindex.com
- [ http://www.worldsnooker.com/players/james-wattana/]