Pune: The Thailand contingent’s solid performance over four days in the Rewale Group Asian under-21 snooker championship has scarcely surprised anyone.
The No. 2 seed, Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon, was put through the wringer in the opening match last Saturday by India’s Pushpinder Singh. But after the first-game reverse, he struck back with three on the trot victories, including a creditable one against China’s Cao Yupeng.
Three half century plus breaks — 88, an unfinished 54 and a 53 — have given sufficient indications that he will be a force to reckon with should he enter the quarterfinals.
He should face an untroubled last league round match against India’s Shravan Mohta on Thursday. Mohta has won and lost two matches each and has a frame average of minus one.
Mohta has to rout Thirapongpaiboon 3-0 not only to notch his third win, but also to lift his frame average to plus two and edge out the Thai from advancing to the last eight.
The other Thai cueists, who have looked the part, are Noppom Saegkham, who trounced Iran’s Amir Sarkosh 3-1 in a late evening match on Tuesday,
Yuttapop Pakpoj, and Poramin Danjirakul, who by virtue of his win against China’s Lv Chengwie has sealed quarterfinal place.
The quarterfinal berths are most likely to be filled by four from Thailand (Danjirakul, Pakpoj, Saegkham and Thirapongpaiboon), two as of now by China — Zhang Anda and Cao Yupeng, and one by Iran’s Sohail Vahedi.
The eighth slot will depend on the outcome of the match between India’s Shahbaaz Khan and the top seed from China, Li Yuan.
India’s National junior champion has had the luck of the draw. Coach Devendra Joshi also views Shahbaaz’s victory against Pakpoj on Tuesday as extremely encouraging.
All the Indian has to do is win one frame and not the match itself, to enjoy a better frame average than Yuan’s.
The Asian billiards championship began on Tuesday and is played on a 100 point format. On Wednesday afternoon, Geet Sethi beat Rupesh Shah 3-0.
Singapore’s Peter Gilchrist will arrive here on Wednesday night and is scheduled to play four matches on Thursday.
The results (league):
Snooker: Group B: Hussein Vaifaee (IRI) bt Mhanaa Nasser AL-Obaidli (Qat) 3-1 (72-32, 68-43, 6-74, 104 (84)-12).
Group D: Noppom Saegkham (Tha) bt Amir Sarkosh (IRI) 3-1 (102-21, 73-8, 23-64 (55), 90-25), Manish Jain (Ind) bt Alammar Abdulrahman (KSA) 3-0 (73-48, 65-37, 61-37), Zhang Anda (Chn) bt Amir Sakrosh (IRI) 3-0 (87(50)-21, 77-51, 78-41).
Billiards: Group A: Aung Htay (Mya) bt Dhruv Sitwala (Ind) 3-2 (6-102, 5-100, 100-30, 100-14, 100-84), Dhruv Sitwala (Ind) bt Ngayen Thanh binh (Vie) 3-0 (100-79, 100-37, 100-17), Pankaj Advani (Ind) bt Ngayen Thanh binh (Vie) 3-1 (100-88, 33-101, 101-34, 101 (101)-0)
Group B: Kayw Oo (Mya) bt Surya Suwanna Singh (Tha) 3-2 (100-88, 79-101, 78-100, 100-27, 101-22), Geet Sethi (Ind) bt Rupesh Shah (Ind) 3-0 (100 (64)-28, 101 (69)-41, 100-62).
Group C: Saurav Kothari (Ind) bt Bari Chaudhary (Ban) 3-0 (101-5, 100-19, 103-11), C. Praprut (Tha) bt Sirisoma (SL) 3-0 (100-57, 100 (84)-2, 100 (100)-3); bt Chaudhary 3-0 (100-12, 100-5, 100-8); bt Saurav 3-0 (100-30, 101-0, 100-41).
Group D: Nguyen Thanh Long (Vie) bt Aung Sun Oo (Mya) 3-2 (103-46, 91-102, 34-101, 103-87, 102-92),
Thawat Sujarithurakaran (Tha) bt Thanh Long 3-1 (100-42, 102-46, 29-100, 100-14), Aung Sun Oo bt Devendra Joshi (Ind) 3-2 (29-100 (100), 100-36, 100-37, 85-100, 100-13).