Strong-willed Thai cueist Passakorn Suwannawat beat home challenge Aditya Mehta to win the title in the Asian snooker championship at the Yeshwant Club here on Saturday.

Suwannawat displayed a focused and skillful performance to outsmart 2008 runner-up Mehta 60 (33)-41, 0-77 (57), 76 (40)-20, 59-58, 69 (69)-66 (66), 24-87, 83 (70)-13, 72-61 in the best of 11-frame summit clash.

This was the maiden continental title for the 25-year-old Thai, who bagged the winner's purse of $3,500. Mehta got $1,750 as the runner-up. The losing semifinalists, Pankaj Advani and Mohammad Rais Senzahi, took home $500 each.

A product of the strong system in Thailand, Suwannawat dominated the match right from the start and fluently gathered some sound breaks to take a 2-1 lead by end of the third frame.

The closely-fought fourth and fifth frames were nothing but mental battles.

Mehta, with a cushion of 26 points in the fourth, could not achieve an important yellow pot after getting distracted by repeated movements in the spectator gallery.

Suwannawat did not waste the opportunity to win the frame by a solitary point.

Dramatic

The next one was even more dramatic. Mehta put up a more determined show by collecting a break of 66.

But his one flaw, a missed red pot, allowed the pint-sized and stocky Thai to bulldoze his way to amass a frame-winning break of 69.

The contest again boiled down to who held the nerve better. When the eighth frame was poised evenly, Suwannawat, the player with limited expressions, exhibited his deft cuework to force Mehta commit four fouls.

Still, the Indian gave Suwannawat a close chase until the Thai found the chance to clear the black and emerge as the champion.

Meanwhile, Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports (ACBS) president Sindhu Pulsirivong announced that both Suwannawat and Mehta had qualified for the world snooker championship.

Mr. Pulsirivong also informed that on the basis of the performances in the Asian championship, three countries — India, Pakistan and Afghanistan — had been chosen to represent the continent in the revived snooker World Cup, to be held in Thailand from May 11 to 17.

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