Aditya Mehta, the 24-year-old from Mumbai, finished the year in style by winning the top prize of Rs.1.5 lakh as he routed India No.2 Sourav Kothari 7-3 in the final of the VIP Matrix All-India Invitational Snooker tournament.
In a rather one-sided final, Mehta, the lone Indian on the professional circuit, was the steadier of the two as he took a 5-0 lead at the end of the first session while the Kolkata-based Kothari, who had beaten National champion Pankaj Advani in the semifinals, failed to touch top form. Kothari received a runner-up cheque for Rs.90,000.
The first session was a virtual washout as Mehta opened up a 5-0 lead with some consistent play. He opened with a 103 break, his second in the tournament, with the help of nine blacks, five blues and a pink before missing on the last red.
Thereafter, Mehta went on to dominate by posting 52 and 44 punishing Kothari each time he bungled. Mehta took the fifth frame on breaks of 23 and 37 as Kothari all but faded from the contest.
On resumption after a two-hour break, Mehta raced to 6-0 following a break of 72 and looked certain to close out the match. However, Kothari refused to yield ground without a fight and took the seventh aided by a run of 48.
Encouraged, Kothari crafted a 37 to which Mehta replied with 55 to set up a keen battle for the colours. Kothari picked up some easy points after laying a few snookers before potting the yellow, green and brown. The two then conceded five points apiece after going in-off blue that Kothari eventually sank followed by other colours to make it 2-6.
Mehta started the ninth frame with a break of 55 but committed a foul and Kothari came up with a clearance to reduce the deficit. However, Mehta delivered a match-winning break of 42 after Kothari missed a straightforward black.