Sitwala runs out of time, loses to Joshi by a whisker
BANGALORE: Pankaj Advani had an eye on the clock and Dhruv Sitwala did not. Advani advanced into the semifinals and Dhruv did not.
Advani, the reigning champion in the IBSF World billiards championship time format, won a close encounter against Sourav Kothari while Dhruv, runner-up in the last edition, fell short of Devendra Joshi by just six points as time ran out for him in the quarterfinals at the KSBA hall here on Monday.
Geet Sethi continued his merry run while outclassing Thawat Sujaritthurakarn of Thailand 1756-783 before Rupesh Shah ended another foreign challenge — Peter Gilchrist of Singapore — to make it an all-Indian affair in the last four stage.
Kothari looked in terrific touch against Advani and the holder was in disarray for most part of the match.
When the going got tough, Advani showed his champion qualities with a string of high scores to bridge the 300-odd gap.
“He left me breathless. Sourav was awesome and kept me away from the table for long. I was lucky to grab my chances in the last 30 odd minutes,” said Advani, who trailed by 126 points with just 20 odd minutes left but kept his cool to win by a margin of 63 points.
With a 65 in his 32nd visit, Advani overtook Kothari and played shrewdly to keep his opponent at bay. “I have played some interesting and close matches against Sourav, but this was probably the tightest,” said Advani. After the match, Kothari broke into a smile but regretted his missed chance of upsetting the champion.
In the quarterfinal encounter between Sitwala and Joshi, both were scrappy to begin with. However, the latter responded better to pressure and was in a punishing mood whenever Sitwala erred in his potting, the top right pocket being particularly jinxed.
Though Sitwala managed to level the match with a 240 in the 14th, Joshi came up with a series of crucial breaks. With just 11 minutes remaining, Sitwala earned a reprieve when Joshi missed an ‘in-off.’
The southpaw used this opportunity to rattle up a break of 186 — a brilliant effort given the circumstances — and was short by six points when the hooter went off.
Given the form Sitwala was in, a few seconds would have been enough for him to turn the tables on Joshi. However, that was not to be.
On a roll
Sethi, despite a midway slump, was on a roll and outsmarted Sujaritthurakarn by a whopping margin while Shah, despite trailing Gilchrist for a major part of the match, got his act together in the final moments to pull off an incredible win, a 257 in the 29th visit being crucial.
In the semifinals, Shah clashes with Joshi and Sethi takes on Advani.
The results (quarterfinals):
Geet Sethi (India) 1756 (293, 52, 92, 196, 51, 334, 78, 144, 187) bt Thawat Sujaritthurakarn (Tha) 783 (52, 105, 84, 123, 55, 84).
Rupesh Shah (Ind) 1182 (104, 150, 188, 56, 257, 156) bt Peter Gilchrist (Sin) 966 (79, 59, 181, 91, 71, 96, 50, 87).
Pankaj Advani (Ind) 1356 (88, 116, 73, 122, 101, 90, 210, 197, 98, 65) bt Sourav Kothari (Ind) 1293 (82, 125, 119, 63, 106, 136, 182, 80, 166).
Devendra Joshi (Ind) 1108 (97, 97, 82, 51, 101, 75, 288) bt Dhruv Sitwala (Ind) 1102 (50, 240, 83, 136, 86, 186).