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Yasin wins one-sided final

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Yasin Merchant poses with the trophy.
Yasin Merchant poses with the trophy.

Sports Reporter

Chennai: Yasin Merchant needed only seven of the scheduled 11 frames to brush aside Aditya Mehta in a surprisingly one-sided final to win the SBI-Alumni Club all-India invitation snooker tournament here on Sunday.

Yasin carried into the title match the inspired mood he had summoned up in his comeback win in Saturday’s semifinal against Alok Kumar, his unfussy style masking the audacity of his habitual long pots.

In the decisive ninth frame against Alok, Yasin had overcome a 49-0 deficit.

Here, Aditya started the first frame with a 43, playing with all the surety of touch that had brought him into the final. Yasin reduced the gap slowly, not without errors at first but with increasing poise, until, at 46-44, he parked the cue ball neatly behind the green and brown balls, with the blue and pink also obscuring Aditya’s path to the only red left on the table.

Collecting 21 points through this and another snooker soon after, Yasin took the frame 86-51.

Aditya made only one error in the second, a miss-hit black at 20-0. The unforgiving Yasin immediately posted 55 to go 2-0 up.

Yasin began the third with a 36, to which Aditya replied with 38, concluding by dragging the cue ball to what seemed a secure spot behind the baulk line.

But Yasin’s form meant that no safety was safe enough, and he sunk a long, angled red into the top right pocket to commence a 34. Yasin by now looked unstoppable, and extended his lead to 5-0 as his opponent’s game began to go jagged round the edges. The bottom left pocket was proving particularly irksome for the 24-year-old Aditya, stymieing a series of undemanding pots.

Despite this, he took the sixth with breaks of 30 and 54, looking as serene as he could in the circumstances.

“I didn’t play too badly; it was just that I was up against someone in extraordinary form,” said Aditya.

Yasin ended in style, a dashing 43 early in the seventh to take a sizeable lead which he extended to 54-17 before Aditya offered him a handshake that was at the same time acquiescent and admiring.

Yasin was modest in victory, and praised the tables, which were earlier used at the 2009 IBSF World Championship in Hyderabad. “This is probably the best table in India, and it was unfortunate that Aditya didn’t get going, otherwise he would have had the audience mesmerised,” he said.

The result: Final: Yasin Merchant bt Aditya Mehta 86-51, 55-20, 73-40, 59-39, 75-34, 1-84, 54-17.

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