Sethi leads way into last 16 of snooker tournament

December 20th, 2009 - 11:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Dec 20 (IANS) Geet Sethi rolled back the years with a polished, if unspectacular, 4-2 victory against another veteran Devendra Joshi to qualify for the pre-quarter finals of the VIP Matrix All-India Invitational Snooker Tournament, here Sunday.
Joining Sethi in the knock-out round with an unbeaten record were two qualifiers, Delhi’s Sandeep Gulati from Group H and J. Varun Kumar of Chennai from Group B.

Gulati chalked up his second win by defeating junior national champion Shabaz Adil Khan 4-3, aided by breaks of 51 and 77 in Group H. On Saturday night, Gulati had beaten Rupesh Shah 4-3.

Varun Kumar got past fancied Sourav Kothari, a top-four ranked Indian star, 4-1 for his second win in the league following his 4-0 rout of fellow-Chennaiite Vijay Nichani Saturday.

Favourite Pankaj Advani, however, made short work of fellow-Bangalorean I.H. Manudev 4-0 in his opening Group A fixture.

For Sethi, a national snooker champion back in the 1980s but who subsequently focused on billiards in which he won nine world titles, it was his second victory in Group G following his narrow 4-3 result against qualifier Girish Rajasekhar late Saturday night.

The 48-year-old Sethi kept his nerves as Joshi, the Mumbai-based Petroleum Sports Promotion Board officer, cracked a break of 83 in the third frame, but yielded ground as the maestro fought his way back to eventually win by a comfortable margin.

“I played ok, nothing great. I was consistent in my breaks. I lost the first frame on a re-spotted black, and then he made a break of 83 in the third for a 2-1 lead, but I kept my cool. You can say I am pretty pleased with the way the match went for me,” he said.

Former national champion Alok Kumar swept past qualifier Jagan Williams 4-2 to confirm his progress to the knock-out round from Group D. The second player to make it to the pre-quarter-final from this group was local challenger Prem Prakash who had beaten Williams 4-2 Saturday.

Earlier, Aditya Mehta, the 24-year-old from Mumbai, crafted breaks of 92 and 62 while winning 4-0 to hand qualifier Imran Ganj his second defeat and book his berth in the pre-quarter-finals from Group F along with Rafath Habib.

In Group E, Manan Chandra (PSPB) overcame a fighting Faisal Khan of the railways 4-3 with most of the frames decided on the colours and moved into the knock-out round with veteran SA Saleem of Tamil Nadu.

The results (preliminary league):

Group A: Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt I.H. Manudev (Kar) 4-0. Group B: J. Varun Kumar (Tamil Nadu) bt Sourav Kothari (PSPB) 4-1. Group C: Kamal Chawla (Railways) bt Sridhar (AP) 4-1. Group D: Alok Kumar (PSPB) bt Jagan Williams (Tamil Nadu) 4-2. Group E: Manan Chandra (PSPB) bt Faisal Khan (Railways) 4-3. Group F: Aditya Mehta (PSPB) bt Imran Ganj (Tamil Nadu) 4-0. Group G: Geet Sethi (Guj) bt Devendra Joshi (PSPB) 4-2; Sethi bt Girish Rajasekar (Railways) 4-3. Group H: Sandeep Gulati (Delhi) bt Shabaz Adil Khan (PSPB) 4-3; Gulati bt Rupesh Shah (PSPB) 4-3.

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