Manudev to meet Balaji in title clash

Fancied Bhaskar ousted in marathon semifinal

in fine fettle: Balaji Reddy upset favourite B Bhaskar en route to the final at the KSBA Hall on Friday. dh photo

Balaji played the waiting game in a long and gruelling encounter to oust favourite B Bhaskar 4-3 (82-25, 74-19, 26-79, 41-61, 70-19, 41-73, 79-41) while the unfancied Manudev decimated BVS Murthy 4-1 (35-80, 88-21, 64-24, 76-20, 94-20).

The 23-year-old law student Balaji showed fine temperament and skill to cruise to a 2-0 lead but the Asian Games bronze medallist Bhaskar proved his prowess when he evened the scores 2-2. Bhaskar then erred repeatedly to hand the youngster a 3-2 lead but did well to level the scores once again.

The seasoned player looked well set to take home the deciding frame but the former junior State No 1 Balaji, snookered him on four occasions, drawing as many fouls to dash Bhaskar’s hopes.

Earlier, Bajaji seemed to be in great form when he blazed to a 74-23 — highlighted by a 56-point break — to go one-up. Bhaskar resorted to playing safe in the second but the plan never really took shape as Balaji fired in breaks of 24, 26 and 20 whenever he got the smallest of openings.

Balaji played smart to snooker Bhaskar twice in the third frame but the 37-year-old found his way past the hurdle, scoring small breaks of 10, 10, 19, 28 and 12. Bhaskar found his groove and jumped to a 47-20 lead early on and held off a late onslaught from Balaji to take the fourth. Bhaskar missed a number of easy chances to hand Balaji a comprehensive fifth frame win but rallied from a 15-30 deficit to wrap up the sixth.

Surging into a 43-41 lead in the decider, Balaji pushed the cueball behind the black with the pink in play. Bhaskar then fouled four times to give Balaji a 67-41 lead before the latter potted the pink to take the match.

Senior (Semifinals knockout): IH Manudev bt BVS Murthy 4-1 (35-80, 88 (55)-21, 64-24, 76-20, 94 (62)-20); Balaji Reddy bt B Bhaskar 4-3 (82-25, 74-19, 26-79, 41-61, 70-19, 41-73, 79-41).
Fifth to eighth play-off: MS Arun bt D Raj Kumar 2-0 (68-47, 63-19); Vinay Katrela bt Ajay Bhushan 2-1 (50-40, 62-69, 64-37); Vinay Katrela bt MS Arun 2-1 (65-23, 26-73, 53-32); D Raj Kumar bt Ajay Bhushan 2-0 (81-08, 69-36).
Placings: Vinay Katrela 5; MS Arun 6; D Raj Kumar 7; Ajay Bhushan 8.
Junior (Semifinal league): Mundir Sherazi bt Zia Ur Rehman 4-2 (67-45, 21-66, 79-18, 64-40, 7-71, 58-17); Amit Bhushan bt KB Hariharan 4-1 (66-37, 29-61, 70-61, 60-22, 69-11).

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