Alok Kumar enters knock-out stage in World Snooker

November 18th, 2009 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

By Anand Philar
Hyderabad, Nov 18 (IANS) Alok Kumar continued his quiet and virtually unnoticed progress to the knock-out stage in the men’s category as he wrapped up his fourth win in as many group matches of the ONGC-IBSF World Snooker championship here Wednesday.

The 41-year-old five times national snooker champion and winner of the Asian title may not enjoy a high visibility or a profile that some of his contemporaries do, but his versatility has never been in doubt as could be gauged by the four national billiards title he has won.

Cueing quite smoothly, Alok, who hails from Mandi-Govindgarh in Punjab, hammered Sri Lanka’s Ryan Somaratna 4-0 Wednesday morning to confirm his berth in the round of 64 where the tournament enters the knock-out phase.

“I am playing well and have got used to the conditions,” said Alok, who is yet to drop a frame in the competition thus far.

Also advancing to the men’s knock-out with unbeaten record after four matches were Anthony McGuill (Scotland), Fung Kwok Wai (Hong Kong-China), Mohammed Al Joaker (UAE) and Ang Boon Chin (Singapore).

In the women’s section, India’s Vidya Pillai, playing quite fluently, overcame compatriot Neeta Sanghvi 3-0 for her fourth win and qualify for the knock-out round.

Thailand’s Santhinee Jaisuekul came through 3-1 against India’s Chitra Magimairaj for her fourth consecutive win and advance to the knock-out phase. Chitra, with three wins from four outings, is also assured of a berth in the next round.

In the Masters category, India’s Geet Sethi rebounded from his defeat last night to post a fluent 3-0 win against Abdul Mohsen Khamis of Qatar aided by a half-century break. “I played far better today and of course happy to get through,” said Sethi after his third success in four outings to also confirm his entry into the knock-out phase.

Among the other impressive winners were Darren Morgan of Wales and Chuchuart Trirattanapradip of Thailand, both recording 3-0 wins. The 1987 champion and also winner of the Masters title in 2007, Morgan, who cracked a 103 earlier in the league, was in a class of his own in blanking Paul Thomerson of Australia while Trirattanapradip crafted a 104 while getting past Bambos Kuzis of Cyprus.

Both Morgan and Trirattanapradit also qualified for the knock-out rounds with four wins out of four as did another Thai, Noppadon Noppachorn who brushed aside local challenger K.Venkatesham 3-0 to post his fourth victory.

The day’s programme was not without a few hiccups. The Masters match between India’s Arvind Savur and Frank Schroeder of Germany saw both players docked a frame apiece by referee Deryck Brown (Wales). Savur eventually won 3-2.

The start was delayed by two minutes as Savur had forgotten to wear his waistcoat and had to wait for it to be fetched while Schroeder left the table without informing the referee and was penalized.

Savur said: “As required, I reported for the match 25 minutes before the start. I did not realize I was not wearing the waistcoat. The referee allowed me to even practice and with a minute before the scheduled start, informed me that I was not wearing a waistcoat that I had left in a friend’s room at the venue hotel. I wonder why the referee did not ask me about the waistcoat when I was practicing.”

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