Pankaj Advani claimed the men's billiards title at the Hash10-World Sim Nationals with a composed 5-1 (81-153, 151-0, 151-67, 150-92, 150-0, 151-2) win over Karnataka's Bhaskar in the best-of-nine frames 150-up final, here on Saturday. Despite losing the first frame, Advani registered four breaks of over a hundred to win comfortably in the end.
Pankaj made it to the final on the back of a 4-0 win over Geeth Sethi but was made to watch for long stretches in the first frame, as Bhaskar rattled up an unfinished break of 119 to draw first blood. The points format allows little room for error or space for comeback, as Bhaskar soon found out. Advani shut him out of frame two 151-0, with an unfinished break of 147.
The third and fourth frames were cagey affairs with several mis-cues, probably to do with residual fatigue as both cueists had to navigate through four knock-out rounds over two days. Bhaskar missed two straight forward cannons, and a break of 87 by Advani was enough to see him take the lead for the first time in the match at 2-1.
The next frame saw Bhaskar miss an equally crucial chance to level the match score, when he failed to push on at 92-43. From there on, the Karnataka cueist saw Advani settle down to reel off break after mammoth break, as Bhaskar collected just two more points over the rest of the final. An unfinished break of 107 saw Advani annexe the fourth, 150 (unfinished) the fifth and 147 the sixth.
Earlier, two breaks of over a hundred helped Advani beat Geet Sethi in a surprisingly one-sided semifinal 4-0, while Bhaskar prevailed over Dhruv Sitwala 4-1. Geet Sethi handed Sitwala the second defeat of the day in the playoff for the third-fourth places, winning the best-of-three frames contest 2-1.
In the boys' junior billiards category, Dhvaj Haria collected his second title of the nationals, finishing unbeaten in three matches of the semifinal league. The Gujarat lad had won the billiards title in the sub-junior division, earlier in the tournament. Ustav Ramani and Malkeet Singh claimed the second and third places, respectively.
The results (Men's final, best-of-nine frames, 150up): Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt B. Bhaskar (Kar) 5-1 (81-153, 151-0, 151-67, 150-92, 150-0, 151-2)
Semifinals (Best-of-seven frames): Pankaj Advani bt Geet Sethi (Guj) 4-0 (150-114, 151-12, 151-105, 150-104); Bhaskar bt Dhruv Sitwala 4-1 (152-117, 151-130, 151-79, 36-151, 151-60).
Third-fourth place playoff (best-of-three frames): Geet Sethi bt Dhruv Sitwala 2-1 (151-50, 10-150, 151-7).
Junior Boys (Semifinal league, three-hour time format): Dhvaj Haria (Guj) bt Malkeet Singh (UP) 965- 645; Mundir Sherazi (Kar) bt Ustav Ramani (Kar) 808-724; Dhvaj bt Ramani 801-713; Malkeet bt Mundir 688-459.
Final placing: 1. Dhvaj Haria, 2. Ustav Ramani, 3. Malkeet Singh, 4. Mundir Sherazi.
Keywords: Pankaj Advani