Rupesh Shah staged an unexpected comeback in the deciding frame to edge past Nay Thway Oo and book a berth in the semifinals of the ONGC Asian billiards championship at the Indore Tennis Club here on Friday. 

In a best-of-seven-frame quarterfinal contest lasting four hours, the reigning World champion displayed his resilience to pip the Myanmar cueist 100 (100)-52, 73-100 (76), 100-2, 21-100 (71), 100 (66)-36, 87-100, 100 (80)-87.

Current National champion Alok Kumar survived a scare to get the better of compatriot B. Bhaskar, who had finished runner-up in the National championship earlier this year, and make it to the semis.

K. Venkatesham, the other Indian in the quarters, submitted to the might of former Thai world champion Praput Chaithanasukan.

Alok will meet Chaithanasukan, while Rupesh will take on another Thai, Thawat Sujaritthurakarn, in the semifinals.

Rupesh, who started off by scoring a century break, could not maintain his momentum and missed some easy shots to allow his Myanmar opponent to stay in the match.

Rupesh had a good chance to wrap up the match when he was leading 87-54 in the sixth frame. However, Oo’s flawless break of 46 spoilt the Indian’s plans.

Oo gathered a lot of confidence after making it 3-3 and raced to a lead of 82-2 in the decider. Rupesh narrowed the gap marginally (20-82), but a nervous Oo managed only five points before missing a centre pocket in-off.

Rupesh grabbed the opportunity with both hands to record a fine victory. He potted his yellow cue ball off the red one to pump his fist.

“Luckily, I got the second chance. Every shot from then on was a calculated one,” said Rupesh.

Alok Kumar grew in confidence against Bhaskar after winning the fourth frame with a huge break of 96 and making it 2-2. He scored two more big breaks in the next two frames to upset Bhaskar’s rhythm and advance to the last four.

“We have mutual respect for each other, that’s why we were careful. I was very determined even though Bhaskar took a 2-1 lead. After winning my second frame I felt a lot better,” said Alok, a former Asian champion.

In under-21 snooker, the Indian challenge came to an end with all the three home players losing their matches in the pre-quarters.

The results (Indians unless specified): Billiards: Quarterfinals: Rupesh Shah bt Nay Thway Oo (Myn) 100(100)-52, 73-100(76), 100-2, 21-100(71), 100(66)-36, 87-100, 100(80)-87; Thawat Sujaritthurakarn (Thai) bt Nguyen Thanh Binh (Vie) 100(68)-43, 4-102(102), 101-59, 100-7, 100-45; Alok Kumar bt B. Bhaskar 45-100(70), 100-2, 79-101(58), 100(96)-63, 102(74)-16, 100(88)-33; Praput Chaithanasukan (Thai) bt K. Venkatesham 100-51, 100-61, 100(95)-0, 100(60)-51.

Under-21 snooker: Pre-quarterfinals: Zhu Yinghui (Chn) bt Dhvaj Haria 83-36, 103(71)-8, 89(64)-34, 15-65, 58-38; Zhou Yelong (Chn) bt Hamza Akbar (Pak) 102 (102)-0, 87-0, 48-77, 32-69, 82-1, 73-22; Lu-Ning (Chn) bt Rahul Sachdev 86 (86)-8, 0-103 (103), 88-46, 45-79, 69-15, 74-45; Mohammad Majid (Pak) bt Malkeet Singh 79-43, 44-70, 62-9, 8-73, 51-77, 84-19, 65-22.  

Group matches: Group A: Rahul Sachdev bt Ishpreet Chadha 53-49, 84-17, 0-133(133), 60-26, 43-73, 31-83, 68-51; Group B: Noppon Saengkham (Thai) bt Changningtung Dong Dong (HK) 87(87)-24, 72-7, 104(104)-21, 66-59(59); Lu Ning (Chn) bt Dhvaj Haria 52-62, 72-30, 112(74)-13, 65-38, 78-33; Group C: Vishal Vaya bt Hamza Akbar (Pak) 64-37, 12-105(104), 53-67(46), 62-42, 35-66, 66-45, 64-50; Malkeet Singh bt Ko Htet (Myn) 1-89(66), 44-73, 64-34, 59-34, 30-77, 53-37, 77(46)-8.

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