V.V. Subrahmanyam

HYDERABAD: World champion Pankaj Advani moved one step closer to realising his dream of completing a double in the Seaways Group-sponsored senior National billiards and snooker championship here.

On Sunday, the 23-year-old Advani quelled the challenge from Sourav Kothari (both from PSPB) with a 14-72, 82-19, 68-15, 33-81, 61-46, 88-12, 68-50 victory in the semifinal to set up a title-clash with Aditya Mehta of Maharashtra.

Aditya downed Manan Chandra 60-9, 39-71, 59-52, 72-8, 78-20, 65-55 earlier with yet another impressive display.

Star of the day

Clearly the star of the day was Aditya Mehta who entered his maiden seniors’ final. He came up with a classy performance against Manan Chandra, known to be a very dangerous opponent once he gets into the rhythm.

Both were scrappy to start with but as the contest progressed Aditya moved into top gear. That Manan could come up with a highest break of 48 in the second frame — considering that he had a 133-break on Saturday — could well be a reflection of the form he was in.

On the other hand, Aditya Mehta came up with decisive breaks of 53 and 72 in the fourth and fifth frames which put the issue beyond the reach of the opponent.

“Definitely, I played much better today and it is a very satisfying win considering the reputation of Manan,” Aditya said.

In the evening, it was Advani’s experience and class which saw him through as Sourav Kothari put him under pressure with a high quality game, especially in the first and the fourth frame.

The way Kothari started off it was ominous for the famed opponent. But soon, the Bengal boy started missing some simple, long pots and that only compounded his misery as the match progressed.

And, Pankaj Advani came up with a 65-break in the second, 56 in the sixth frame which made the big difference in the ultimate analysis.

With the frame score tied two-all and leading by 16 points in the fifth frame, Sourav Kothari faltered by missing some easy pots. Pankaj Advani seized the opportunities provided to him. “I consider myself a bit fortunate this evening. He was really unlucky to miss some simple scoring chances. And, winning under pressure gives you special feeling,” he said.

That Sourav Kothari was erratic was evident even in the seventh frame in which he was leading 41-6 at one stage. Despite Advani coming up with a break of 30-plus to move marginally ahead at 53-50, Kothari did have his chances to come back but he missed a simple brown after which Advani never gave him another chance. “Well the big difference for me today was that I failed to capitalise on the chances which I got,” Sourav Kothari said.

The results: Snooker: Seniors: smifinals: Aditya Mehta (Mah) bt Manan Chandra (PSPB) 60-9, 39-71, 59-52, 72-8, 78-20, 65-55; Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Sourav Kothari (PSPB) 14-72, 82-19, 68-15, 33-81, 61-46, 88-12, 68-50.

Snooker: Juniors: semifinal league: Shravan Mohta bt Shoiab Khan 63-53, 30-74, 28-46, 18-58, 65-29, 59-30; Sharavan Mohta bt Aneesh Soni 10-55, 93-59, 65-24, 54-44, 70-43; Maneesh Jain bt Shoiab Khan 68-30, 52-28, 55-56, 70-51, 67-19; Maneesh Jain bt Aneesh Soni 44-27, 40-64,72-38, 61-47, 51-45.

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