Mike Russell will play India's Dhruv Sitwala in the five-hour final of the 2010 World professional billiards championship. Whilst Russell won with authoritative dominance recording breaks of 109, 305, 295, 101 & 371 to edge out Causier 1525-1279 in the semifinal, Sitwala squeaked past Sethi winning by a solitary point as time ran out for his opponent who was left stranded on a break of 57 unfinished. The scores in the end read 980-979 in favour of Sitwala.
By defeating Sethi by that solitary point in a nerve-wracking semifinal encounter Sitwala has reached his first world professional final.
The journey to the final has been punctuated with frequent tense situations for the 37-year-old from Mumbai. He lost his opening league match against Ashok Shandilya, then won by only 40 points against Phil Mumford in a crucial match which allowed him to qualify for the knock out quarterfinal.
It was only in the quarterfinal against Pankaj Advani that he exhibited some amount of fluency which aided him in outclassing the former world champion with relative ease.
On Saturday night, in the semifinal he enjoyed the initial advantage with a carefully compiled effort of 68 in his fifth visit and with consecutive runs of 138, 87 & 93 in the 15th, 16th & 17th visits at the end of which he lead 444-203.
Sethi was unusually subdued, a 63 in the ninth visit being his highest break. However, Sethi found some rhythm towards the end of the first two-hour session compiling a 107 in the 24th visit ending the first session trailing by 120 points.
The second session was dominated by Sethi who recorded breaks of 84, 76, 167 & 88 which helped him in negating the deficit and establishing an 819-703 advantage. It was at this stage that Sitwala dug deep and pulled out two very important visits scoring 92 & 88 to level scores.
With ten minutes to go the scores read 931-922 in favour of Sitwala, who occupied the table for seven minutes making a break of 49. When he missed Sethi seized the opportunity and compiled a 57 when time ran out and the match was won by Sitwala by one point.
Russell's prolific break building and his ability to uncork big breaks when he requires them were on display once again in his semifinal encounter against the highly strung David Causier who plays a brand of billiards which can only be described as ‘unconventional'.
Against Russell though, Causier needed at least one big break to seriously threaten the nine-time winner of the pro world title. At the end of the first two hours Russell had registered breaks of 109 & 305 and was on an unfinished 271 which took his score to 822 and Causier courtesy two important breaks of 98 and 88 in the last two visits of the first session was on 549.
On the resumption, Russell's unfinished break terminated at 295 and then there were a series of safety exchanges between the two cueists before the Qatar based Russell compiled runs of 101 & 95 in successive visits.
When three visits later he knocked in yet another 371 the match was sealed in his favour. Causier battled on and finished the contest with runs of 101 and 199 which reduced the margin of defeat to 1525-1279.