Aditya Mehta gave an impressive performance to reach the final, while Pankaj Advani failed to make the cut, despite showing tremendous resilience, in the Asian snooker championship at the Yeshwant Club here on Friday.
Mehta defeated Afghan Mohammad Rais Senzahi 71-37, 11-76, 26-77, 67-6, 80 (58)-0, 32-59, 64-55, 95(40)-19, 24-71, 100 (80)-11 in the semifinals.
Later, Advani lost to Thailand's Passakorn Suwannawat 17-82, 5-74, 33-62, 88-20, 78-44, 0-98, 74-25, 69-57, 80-5, 40-53, 51-73 in a marathon to leave fans, who were expecting an all-Indian final, disappointed.
Against the gritty Senzahi, Mehta needed to fall back on his huge reserve of patience. He earned important breaks of 25 and 40 points to claim the seventh and eighth frames respectively.
In the ninth, he knew that he had to give a solid performance in order to prevent the contest from going into the nerve-wracking decider. A fluent break of 80 helped Mehta, the 2008 runner-up, register his seventh consecutive victory.
Despite his loss, Advani would be proud of his showing against Suwannawat. The Indian would be remembered for the entertainment he provided by rallying from a three-frame deficit. The final frame, predominantly a battle of skills, was symbolic of the whole contest.
Earlier in the day, Advani pulled off a big win to make sure his slot in the last four. He exhibited some fine shots to outwit an in-form and efficient Tian Pengfei.
The fifth frame provided the turning point as Pengfei failed to pocket a black and Advani grabbed the opportunity to win it 55-43. That triggered the Chinese to score his third century of the championship (140) and keep up the challenge. Advani answered back with an equally aggressive 104 — the third of the event by the Indian — to walk away a worthy winner.
Mehta cruised to victory in his quarterfinal match against Noppadol Sangnil. This was the fifth match in a row where the Indian emerged winner without dropping a frame.
Effort in vain
Kamal Chawla's valiant effort went in vain against Senzahi. Chawla, who had not been keeping well for past two days, played some exquisite shots to stage a fightback after losing the first two frames.
The Bhopal player, who was leading 4-3 at one stage, had a fabulous chance to clinch the match in the eighth frame. With both players tied at 40, Chawla needed to pot the pink and the black. However, the pocket-bound pink ball moved away from the lip and gifted Senzahi the frame.
The results: Quarterfinals: Aditya Mehta (Ind) bt Noppadol Sangnil (Tha) 79-24, 58-17, 69-28, 70-41, 65-17; Pankaj Advani (Ind) bt Tian Pengfei (Chn) 73-18, 17-76, 78-23, 64-28, 55-43, 0-140, 142-0; Passakorn Suwannawat (Tha) bt Shahid Aftab (Pak) 93 (70)-3, 65 (55)-21, 52-65, 75-25, 55-69, 112 (50)-4, 65-7; Mohammad Rais Senzahi (Afg) bt Kamal Chawla (Ind) 78-52, 63-61, 51-77, 24-68, 40-79, 66-32, 48-89, 53-40, 69-23.