Advani, Chandra in ASCA invitational snooker final (Lead)

September 20th, 2008 - 11:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 20 (IANS) World champion Pankaj Advani blitzed his way to a 5-0 win against Alok Kumar here Saturday to enter the final of the Alliance Group-ASCA invitational snooker tournament.In the final scheduled for Sunday, Advani, the 23-year old from Bangalore, will take on India’s No.3 and his close friend Manan Chandra who ended Rajasekar Girish’s dream run 5-2.

Advani, who is still to drop a frame in the tournament, was a class apart and mercilessly punished Alok for every mistake committed in a display that underlined the young man’s versatility.

Advani, who only last week won a double at the IBSF World billiards championship in Bangalore, had breaks of 49, 44, 44, 81 and 70 in the five frames with Alok reduced to a hapless and somewhat embarrassed spectator whose presence was barely felt.

Displaying a sure touch and confidence, Advani was at his flowing best during the runs of 81 which he could have expanded into a century. The break effectively killed Alok’s challenge and the 70 in the fifth closed the match that lasted a mere 75 minutes.

Earlier, Chandra came through a slam-bang match that saw both players going for the shots with abandon.

All the seven frames were touch-and-go with Girish, the 28-year old Tamil Nadu No.2, having his moments but blowing them away through haste and impetuosity.

“Yes, we were both going for our shots, but I knew I was going to win. Girish has the shots but potting alone will not win you matches. Probably, his style of play rubbed off on me and I was taking far too many chances. This is something I should work on,” summed up Chandra.

In the morning, Girish celebrated his employment with Central Railway (Mumbai) in style by scoring the biggest win of his cue sport career when he scalped Geet Sethi 4-2 to enter the semi-finals.

“I concentrated on playing safe today and I am extremely happy that I won against a champion like Geet. It was my first meeting with him,” said Girish who had breaks of 44 in the second and 50 in the sixth.

In the other quarter-finals, Chandra trounced Devendra Joshi 4-0 while Advani raced to an easy 4-0 win against Rishab Pandya while Alok Kumar brought down the high-flying Rupesh Shah 4-2.

Alok Kumar played a typical slow-paced and calculative game to bring down Shah who in the previous match had compiled two consecutive century breaks.

While Alok showed a lot of grit in coming to terms with inconsistent potting, Shah battled demons in the mind as he attributed the new table conditions and “heavier balls” to his poor run Saturday.

“I played all my previous matches on the other table (Table No.1) and so, I just could not get used to this No.2 table. I just couldn’t get going,” said Shah.

Far from being outplayed, Shah had his chances in all the four frames he lost, especially in the fifth when he laid two excellent snookers, made a break of 36 to get ahead before missing the last pink that he sold in the centre pocket, attempting a dicey stretch shot when he was better off to play safe. Alok cleared to wrap up the match.

In contrast, Advani, with a break of 62 in the fourth, and Chandra, won their respective quarter-final matches with ease.

The results:

Semi-finals (best-of-nine frames): Pankaj Advani bt Alok Kumar 5-0 (62-30, 85-17, 70-24, 81-0, 70-0); Manan Chandra bt Rajasekar Girish 5-2 (38-74, 53-51, 55-35, 46-57, 67-48, 93-44, 52-23).

Quarter-finals (best-of-seven frames): Pankaj Advani bt Rishab Pandya 4-0 (90-35, 68-1, 61-57, 71-34; Alok Kumar bt Rupesh Shah 4-1 (31-80, 64-63, 72-61, 58-48, 76-70); Manan Chandra bt Devendra Joshi 4-0 (72-1, 68-24, 52-17, 67-15); Rajasekar Girish bt Geet Sethi 4-2 (8-87, 80-12, 61-21, 52-66, 69-47, 69-1).

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