Manudev, Bhaskar in semis

BVS, Balaji score victories to advance to last-four phase

Gritty I H Manudev en route to his win over Vinay Katrela in the State-ranking snooker meet on Thursday. DH photo

BVS Murthy, B Bhaskar and Balaji Reddy also posted victories in their quarterfinal matches at the KSBA hall.

The 34-year-old Manudev, playing in a State-ranking tournament after a gap of nearly eight years, showed good intensity and focus early to jump to a 3-0 lead. Just when things began to slip away, the 27-year old Katrela  stepped up the gas to apply brakes on Manudev’s runaway march by grabbing the fourth and fifth frames.

But the experience of Manudev came in handy as he polished off his opponent in clinical fashion in the sixth.

Despite coming after a hard-fought 3-2 win over Sajan Boppana, Manudev was at ease and took the first without a challenge after he broke away from 52-17 lead. Katrela did show maturity during the second frame but the man from Chikmagalur, given a chance at 50-10, took the frame in superb style.

Manudev barely broke a sweat in the third frame, but was caught napping when Katrela staged a recovery of sorts in the fourth. Trailing by 15 points, Katrela potted with ease and even managed to draw 12 points from Manudev’s fouls. The Bangalorean stunned Manudev with a series of very intricate snookers, drawing him into couple of more fouls before clinching his first frame.

At the beginning of the fifth, the cueists were tied at 45-45, but Katrela showed class to jump to a 10-point lead. Manudev handed Katrela a couple of easy points but made it up when he rallied to make 24 points on a stretch. Manudev eyed at finishing the match with the score at 77-71 but Katrela potted the pink and the black balls to make it 2-3. Manudev demolished Katrela’s hopes of pushing it to the decider when he crafted a 36 to clinch the sixth frame and the match.

 BVS Murthy bt Ajay Bhushan 4-1 (49-62, 52-31, 74-60, 58-25, 66-9); B Bhaskar bt MS Arun 4-1 (61-22, 73-47, 63-60, 35-71, 67-10); IH Manudev bt Vinay Katrela 4-2 (70-27, 79-26, 61-16, 31-71, 73-84, 74-39); Balaji Reddy bt D Raj Kumar 4-3 (72-42, 26-73, 57-68, 60-46, 82-24, 7-84, 84-71).

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