Qatar’s Mike Russell, the reigning and nine-time World professional billiards champion and India’s Dhruv Sitwala reaffirmed their stamp of authority in the ongoing 2009 World Professional Billiards Championship with emphatic victories over Ian Williamson and Michael Kreuziger respectively.

Russell’s 889-269 win was laced with a break of 545, the highest of the event so far whilst Sitwala’s 957-154 victory saw him construct a fine effort of 405 in their second league matches at the Northern Snooker Centre, here in Leeds.

In Group ‘D’, I won an easy encounter against England’s Robert Hall 1329-206 late on Wednesday night, whilst Pankaj Advani, the current IBSF World Billiards Champion scored a fluent 1169-159 win over Austria’s Kreuziger on Thursday morning.

With Advani, Sitwala and myself all in Group ‘D’, the outcome of each match now becomes crucial in case of a three-way tie. The early loss to Sitwala has injected an overdose of adrenalin into my system. Needing to score heavy to keep my points difference as high as possible, I compiled breaks of 111, 217, 91, 95, 99, 80, 90 and an unfinished 210 to average 66.5 in my match against Hall.

More importantly, the win by over 1100 points provides a comforting thought in case of that three-way tie. Advani, also realising this, performed with relentless consistency against Kreuziger to win by over 1000 points with runs of 133, 240, 154, 92, and 69.

Due credit must be given to B. Bhaskar, who arrived into Heathrow from India early on Wednesday morning, caught the train to Leeds from Kings Cross at 11 a.m. and reached the venue at 2 p.m. and then played his first match against Sourav Kothari at 7 p.m. All this because his visa was rejected the first time due to insufficient documentation and he had to reapply for the same.

Peak physical condition

Clearly Bhaskar’s peak physical condition (he jogs 5km every morning for the last 10 years) helped him overcome the strain of a 16-hour journey from Bangalore to Leeds as he scored an emphatic 779-333 victory over Kothari with a 155 in his fifth visit, an 80 on his 13th visit and a praiseworthy 330 on his fourteenth visit.

There’s a lot one must learn from the manner in which Bhaskar brushed aside the hardships he faced and focussed only on his match.

Kothari was inexplicably all at sea initially, scoring only 29 points in the opening eleven visits.

However he redeemed himself with a 202, which came as an immediate response to the 330 by Bhaskar. Bhaskar has sealed his place in the quarterfinal with a 529-295 victory over Gary Rogers this morning.

Goodwill qualifies

Martin Goodwill is the other cueist from this group to qualify for the last-eight stage. Goodwill had defeated Kothari on Wednesday morning by 20 points and later in the night he scored a 654-171 win over Gary Rogers.

In a decisive Group ‘A’ encounter, Rupesh Shah overcame a two-day bout of flu and fever and his opponent Devendra Joshi by a 485-309 margin to have virtually qualified from the group.

However, Shah has still to defeat Ian Williamson which given the latter’s form, should be just a formality.

David Causier, the swashbuckling cueist from England and Peter Gilchrist from Singapore have both progressed unhampered in their league matches and will play each other to decide the No.1 and no.2 of the group.

Keywords: RussellSitwalabilliards

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