SNOOKER / Advani beats Chandra, meets Damani in title clash

Meenal Thakur added yet another national title to her kitty. In a slow-paced final here on Sunday, Maharashtra's Meenal Thakur defeated Vidya Pillai of Tamil Nadu in a 5-4 verdict at 41-3, 8-38, 31-37, 19-18, 54-4, 11-36, 10-26, 46-0, 41-12 to win the O.B. Agarwal memorial inaugural 6 Red National snooker title in the women's category.

A good turnout at the renovated KSBA hall first enjoyed Pankaj Advani's exhibition of brilliant snooker play before shifting attention to the women's final. Pankaj Advani strung a series of notable breaks to outclass fellow PSPB cueist Manan Chandra with an overwhelming 7-1 verdict and will take on West Bengal's Brijesh Damani for the title.

Brijesh shrugged aside the challenge from Kamal Chawla of Railways at 7-5. The other semifinal was more or less evenly contested though Brijesh Damani played the big points better than his opponent

Bad miss

Vidya after losing the first frame meekly found some rhythm to pocket the next two. But a bad miss on the pink gave Meenal a chance to clinch the frame at 19-18 and level scores at 2-2 before going into a break.

On resumption, Meenal was in sublime form and pocketed the fifth at 54-4. Vidya roared back and was a frame away from the title when the players adjourned for another short break. Meenal got time to recoup and snuffed out the challenge from Vidya with brilliant potting to win the next two frames and the title.

The fourth and eight frames were the “turning point” admitted the 31-year old after the title. “I wanted to win this badly and add to my collection of two billiards, two snooker (15 reds) and an eight-ball pool titles earlier,” Meenal said.

The results:

Men (semifinals): Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Manan Chandra (PSPB) 7-39 (29), 61 (61)-1, 63 (52)-0, 68 (54)-0, 47-1, 70 (70)-0, 45 (30)-9, 72 (66)-0; Brijesh Damani (WB) bt Kamal Chawla (Rlys) 37-6, 33-18, 25-44, 42-24, 1-43, 47-10, 24-36, 0-38, 5-40, 43-2, 42-15, 41-14.

Men (quarterfinals): Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Rafath Habib (Rly.) 62 (28)-8, 0-51 (46), 59 (27)-0, 39-18, 30-25, 24-27, 42-13, 55-1.

Brijesh Damani (WB) bt Sandeeep Gulati (Del) 30-32, 52-7, 73 (73)-0, 36-0, 53-10, 5-56, 45-1, 7-58, 46-34; Manan Chandra (PSPB) bt I.H. Manudev (Kar) 59-0, 66-16, 67 (67)-0, 7-48, 32-41, 36-20, 60 (60)-1, 39-26; Kamal Chawla (Rly) bt Divya Sharma (Har) 42-4, 54 (42)-0, 28-15, 55-14, 42-13, 65 (65)-1.

5 to 8 placing: Rafath Habib (Rlys) bt I.H. Manudev (Kar) 56-13, 55-16, 13-36, 37-5; Sundeep Gulati (Del) bt Divya Sharma (Har) 48 (44)-0, 37-3,37-2; I.H. Manudev (Kar) bt Divya Sharma (Har) 72 (72)-0, 14-44, 46-5, 33-0; Rafath Habib (Rlys) bt Sundeep Gulati (Del) 14-54, 41-3, 10-42, 40-21, 37-10.

Placings: 5. Rafath Habib (Rlys), 6. Sundeep Gulati (Del), 7. I.H. Manudev(Kar), 8. Divya Sharma (Har).

Women: Final: Meenal Thakur (Mah) bt Vidya Pillai (TN) 41-3, 8-38 (36), 31-37, 19-18, 54-4, 11-36, 10-26, 46-0, 41 (24)-12.

Third place: Anuja Chandra (PSPB) beat Chitra (Kar) 51-29, 35-29, 49-13.

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