He was left hassled after his baggage was misplaced but unfazed by it, ace Indian cueist Pankaj Advani rallied to beat China’s Li Hang in the second round of the qualifying event for the World Snooker Championships in Sheffield.
Advani notched up a 10-9 triumph to set up a clash against England’s Robbie Williams in the penultimate qualifying round on Sunday. The main event is scheduled from April 19 to May 5.
Advani was trailing throughout the match against Hang, who scored heavily in many frames.
However, it was the eight-time world champion from India, who used his experience and showed nerves of steel to get past the finish line first.
The match played over two days saw the first session ending with the Chinese leading 5-3. On resumption the following day, Hang maintained the lead and at one stage the score was 8-5.
With only two frames away from defeat, Advani responded to the pressure and won the next three on the trot.
What has made this trip to the UK for Advani even more challenging was when his regular Dubai-based airline failed to check the baggage which resulted in a co-passenger mistakenly exiting with Advani’s suitcase from the Manchester airport.
The Indian was without any of his belongings for three days only to receive it the night before his match.
“This is a first for me in the 18 years I’ve travelled. At any other time it wouldn’t have bothered me too much but before a world championship it became a stressful matter. I didn’t have my clothes, toiletries, and especially my match attire, which I get specially tailored,” Advani said.
“Without them my mental state would’ve been something else. But I have my sport psychologist brother Shree to thank as he kept me tough throughout the ordeal and focused during the two—day match. In hindsight, I guess this was a sign for things to come. The match was as challenging but with the right attitude you will always prevail,” he added.
Pankaj Advani (India) defeated Li Hang (China) 10-9: 60-27, 58-70, 2-100, 62-25, 0-140, 56-67, 28-70, 62-51, 1-128, 72-42, 72-59, 7-68, 1-100, 78-54, 87-0, 73-1, 20-82, 73-12, 64-1.