Advani wins Alliance snooker title

September 21st, 2008 - 10:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 21 (IANS) World champion Pankaj Advani scraped through a nerve-wracking final 6-5 against Manan Chandra to win the Alliance Group-ASCA invitational snooker tournament here Sunday.Leading 4-1 at one stage, Advani, who last week won a double in the IBSF World billiards championship in his hometown Bangalore, was clearly rattled by Chandra’s fight back in a match that witnessed some uncharacteristic errors from both players - who are the best of friends off the table.

If the rub of the nap did not favour Chandra, then Advani failed to wrap up the match far earlier than he eventually did. The match spilled into the fourth hour, which in itself was a surprise considering that both are known to be fast players.

After a cautious start, Advani, who had not dropped a frame en route to the final, jumped to a 4-1 lead while posting a break of 81 in the fourth.

It looked curtains for an increasingly despondent Chandra, who was clearly frustrated at the run of bad luck in virtually every frame. However, Advani, when within sight of a comfortable win, seemed to cramp and Chandra began his fight back.

In fact, there were definite signs of Advani’s composure cracking as he appeared disturbed by every bit of noise from the packed hall, often complaining to the referee.

The mid-phase of the contest witnessed a slew of errors from both, but most went unpunished. That the players feared each other was fairly obvious, with percentage shots ruling the roost rather than bold approaches.

That a majority of the frames were decided on higher colours reflected the closeness of the match and the fact there was only one half-century break indicated the excessive caution exercised by the two players.

The decisive moment came in the final frame after Chandra had taken the 10th on the black. Advani picked up some free points through a well-laid snooker early in the decider to take a small but significant lead.

Thereafter, Advani was content with small breaks followed by safety play and with Chandra making a mess of a couple of promising openings, the writing was on the wall.

Finally, after 285 minutes, Advani slotted the final pink and Chandra conceded defeat to finish as runner-up.

The results (Final, best-of-11 frames):

Pankaj Advani bt Manan Chandra 6-5 (71-50, 36-89, 69-46, 114-14, 76-35, 35-57, 50-60, 70-57, 27-54, 48-54, 80-34).

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