Venkatesham eliminates Alok in senior national billiards

July 29th, 2011 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, July 29 (IANS) K. Venkatesham, the Hyderabad-based Railways player, knocked out defending champion and Asian champion Alok Kumar of PSPB 3-2 en route to the quarter-finals of the senior National billiards championship, here Friday.

The 42-year-old Alok Kumar paid the price for lack of adequate preparations and ended his rather unimpressive run in the tournament that saw him lose a group match.

Venkatesham, who was marked for big deeds when he first came on the national scene some 20 years ago, but never quite fulfilled the early promise, posted breaks of 54, 56 and 92 in the first, third and fifth, while Alok’s best efforts were an 52 in the second and an 84 in the fourth.

Elsewhere, the talented Dhruv Sitwala posted the tournament’s highest break of 151 unfinished to see off Siddharth Parkeh 3-2 in a close match.

Also advancing to the round of eight were title favourite Pankaj Advani, Geet Sethi, Devendra Joshi, Balachandra Bhaskar, Rupesh Shah and Ashok Shandilya.

Of the lot, Advani, the 26-year old from Bangalore, notched two century breaks (105 unfinished, 139 unfinished) besides two half-centuries (60, 76) while racing to a 3-0 win against veteran Shyam Jagtiani.

Shandilya, who last won the title 11 years ago, had to summon all his experience and craft to subdue young Sourav Kothari 3-2 for a berth in the quarter-finals.

Shandilya jumped to a 2-0 lead with a break of 144 unfinished in the second. However, the 25-year old Kothari, son of former World champion Manoj who incidentally beat Shandilya to win the title in 1990, came back strongly to take the third and then level at 2-2 on a 150 unfinished break.

Going into the decider, Shandilya, the 42-year old 2002 World champion, opened with a 116 break, but watched nervously as Kothari replied with a run of 100 that ended on a missed red in-off. Shandilya needed no second invitation as he polished off the game for a 3-2 result.

Joshi crafted two century breaks (102, 111) during his 3-0 drubbing of Prem Prakash while Bhaskar had a 121 unfinished and 92 in beating 3-0 win over Shankar Rao who had scalped Alok Kumar in the group match.

The results (best-of-5, 150-up):

Pre-quarter-finals (best-of-five, 150-up): Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Shyam Jagtinai (Rlys) 3-0; Geet Sethi (Guj) bt Arun Agarwal (Mah) 3-0; Rupesh Shah (Guj) bt Shakeel Ahmed (WB) 3-0; Devendra Joshi (PSPB) bt Prem Prakash (TN) 3-0; K Venkatesham (Rlys) bt Alok Kumar (PSPB) 3-2; Dhruv Sitwala (PSPB) bt Siddharth Parkeh (Rlys) 3-2; Balachandra Bhaskar (Kar) bt Shankar Rao (AP) 3-0; Ashok Shandilya (Rlys) bt Sourav Kothari (PSPB) 3-2.

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