Manudev tames Balaji to lift title

Murthy overcomes Bhaskar for third place

IH Manudev shows off his spoils after winning the snooker title. DH Photo

The 34-year-old Manudev looked a little under the weather at the start but gradually assumed command. The 23-year-old Balaji, surprise winner over B Bhaskar in the semifinal, committed too many errors, allowing Manudev to quickly build a 2-0 lead. Manudev played some remarkable shots to take the third and fourth frames in quick succession, and closed out the fifth to jump to the top position in the State rankings chart.

Playing his first State-ranking tournament in ten years, Manudev started slowly when he miscued a couple of easy shots, gifting Balaji a 47-30 lead.

A see-saw first frame lasted 20 minutes before the former State champ cut the deciding black ball to the bottom left of the table.

Evidently shaken, Balaji played very safe in the second but Manudev had found his bearings by then, surging to a 62-37 lead before potting the brown to close out the frame.

Signs of resurgence

Balaji showed signs of resurgence when he played an intricate cut on the blue to the top right at the start of the third frame, but Manudev followed up an impressive break of 62 with a 24 break to jump iinto a facile 3-0 lead.

The man from Chikamagalur ran through the fourth with small breaks of 21, 15, 24 and 9 as Balaji looked on helplessly.

Sensing a whitewash, Balaji tried his hand at nudging the cue to snooker Manudev. The ploy helped him grab a four-point foul, but the old warhorse came up with breaks of 12, 26, and 39 to complete victory.

Two-time National champion BV Srinivasa Murthy denied nephew Bhaskar a third-place finish with a 3-1 (65-21, 15-52, 63-61, 50-48) win in the play-off tie.

DH News Service

Results: Senior (final): IH Manudev bt Balaji Reddy 5-0 (68-61, 66-37, 86-9, 73-14, 77-5).
Third place play-off: BVS Murthy bt B Bhaskar 3-1 (65-21, 15-52, 63-61, 50-48).
Final rankings: Manudev 1; Balaji 2; Murthy 3; Bhaskar 4.

Junior: Amit Bhushan bt Zia Ur Rehman 4-2 (71-25, 62-41, 40-68, 24-61, 59-10, 67-12); Mundir Sherazi bt KB Hariharan 4-3 (60-8, 44-64, 80-30, 46-60, 65-51, 29-63, 59-46).

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