I.H. Manudev won a dramatic Group E match against Syrian Karam Fatima to book a pre-quarterfinal berth and become one of the three Indian players to reach the knock-out stage of the Asian snooker championship at the Yeshwant Club here on Tuesday.

Manudev managed a hard-earned 39-54, 50-84, 60-43, 73(73)-35, 52-50, 6-84, 65-32 victory in a contest that lasted nearly three hours.

Aditya Mehta posted a comfortable 75-8, 59-45, 66-24, 49-11 win against Philippines' Alvin Ambatali Barbero to ensure a slot in the pre-quarterfinals. This was his third victory in a row in Group H. Pankaj Advani had already made it to the last 16 following his three victories in Group B. In a Group F engagement, Kamal Chawla got the better of Pakistan's Imran Shahzad 0-111(85), 96-23, 58-26, 72-32, 69-34 to stay in the race for a place in the knock-out phase. The lone home player to lose on the fourth day was Lucky Vatnani, who went down to Syrian Omar Alkojah 78-48, 84-21, 54-21, 5-70, 28-66, 60-20 in Group G. The cueists from Syria, being coached by S. Jairaj from India, came up with gritty performances to torment the Indian players.

Manudev, who was beaten comprehensively in the first two frames, found his rhythm and made some good pots to pocket the next three. In fact, he was lucky to clinch the fifth frame as Fatima, leading 50-39, could not pot the last two non-red balls.

Thrilling finale

The final frame was a thriller all the way. Manudev grabbed a 65-0 lead and needed just one more pot to win the match. However, he messed up his shot and allowed Fatima to catch up. The Syrian was sailing smoothly before missing a crucial black pot which cost him the match.

Manudev was a relieved man after the win. “I realised my mistake after playing that shot (in the last frame). But, he (Fatima) played well,” said the Bangalore-based player.

Other results: Group A: Mohammad Lababi (Iri) bt Mohammad Al Joaker (UAE) 12-67, 69-11, 35-67, 43-54, 59-12, 68-5, 67-10; Ahmed Hassan Hadi (Irq) bt Ali Mohsen Khamis (Qa) 62-40, 56-10, 70-26, 75-41.

Group B: Yuttapop Pakpoj (Tha) bt Hiroshi Matsumura (Jpn) 85-45, 63-45, 77-36, 64-11; Lim Chun Kiat (Sin) bt Sergelan Batdelgar (Mgn) 69-34, 76-0, 67-45, 30-61, 62-40.

Group C: Mohammad Rais Senzahi (Afg) bt Mohammed Al Sheikh (Ba) 33-84, 62-26, 32-50, 63-21, 93-7, 67-17; Shahid Aftab (Pak) bt Hossein V. Ayouri (Iri) 36-58, 72-43, 75-41, 47-64, 68-45, 65-41. Group D: Mohammad Saleh (Afg) bt Baldandorj Batsukh (Mng) 1-62, 6-77, 68-45, 93-24, 77-12, 82(82)-0; Fung Kwok Wai (HK) bt Yaquob S.M. Enezi (Kuw) 70-33, 71-8, 60-22, 80-42. Group E: Lau Ka Lam (HK) bt Chul Ho Hwang (Kor) 76-8, 61-19, 72-21, 84-36; Group F: Mubarak Kh Al Owais (Ku) bt Michael Angelo Mengorio (Ph) 66-26, 57-43, 50-62, 68-40, 66-27.

Group G: Ahmed Ghuloom (Ba) bt Tae Hoon Jung (Kor) 83-19, 63-11, 40-44, 89-9, 49-29; Danny Lam Tuck Weng (Sin) bt Tae Hoon Jung (Kor) 38-71, 59-2, 71-1, 58-59, 50-58, 58-50, 66-0.

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