Advani edges past Praput, makes final

Advani edges past Praput, makes final

In a clash between two former world champions, India’s Pankaj Advani defeated Praput Chaithanasukan of Thailand 5-4 to reach the final of the 11th ONGC Asian billiards championship here on Saturday.

Advani will take on another Thai in the final, after Thawat Sujaritthuarkarn outclassed India’s Devendra Joshi 5-0 in the other semfinal.

Advani won the first game of the semifinal after firing in an unfinished break of 102 but Praput stormed back to take the next two for a 2-1 lead. Advani showed his determination to stay in the contest, coming up with another unfinished 100 break to take the fourth game and followed it up with a 97 to edge ahead 3-2. Advani seemed to be in command at that point but Praput had other ideas, with the Thai coming up with an unfinished 102 to restore parity in the sixth game.

The crucial seventh game was a pulsating one as Pankaj garnered point after point to reach 96 but faltered when he needed just four points to close out the game. Praput grabbed the chance to fire in an unfinished 101 to take the game 101-96 for a 4-3 lead.

Under pressure, the Indian then showed his class, storming through the next game 100-35 to take the match into the decider.

As tension mounted, Advani scored a useful 71 break in reply to Praput’s 46 and then, playing with care and caution, closed out the contest in style.

In the Asian Under-21 snooker championship, Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham drubbed national junior champion Laxman Rawat 5-0 to end the Indian interest.

Results: Billiards (semifinals): Pankaj Advani (India) bt Praput Chaithanasukan (Thailand) 5-4 (102 (102)-10, 59-100, 0-101 (99), 100 (100)-0, 101 (97)-58, 2-102 (102), 96-101 (101), 100 (100)-35, 101 (71)-46); Thawat Sujaritthurakarn (Thailand) bt Devendra Joshi (India) 5-0 (100 (53)-48, 100-55, 101 (88)-2, 100-57, 100-95)

Under-21 Snooker (quarterfinals): Zhou Yelong (China) bt Mohd Lababi 5-3 (61-72, 112 (111)-0, 57(57)-56, 78(69)-23, 5-88 (52), 65 (65)-31, 103 (102)-2); Anda Zhang (China) bt Lu Ning (China) 5-0 (61-56, 67 (62)-42, 87 (79)-24, 59-51, 108 (105)-0, 108 (105)-0); Hossein Vafaei (Iran) bt Amir Sarkhosh (Iran) 5-2 (57-11, 57-53, 54-63, 71-1, 64-08, 38-64, 63-44); Noppon Saengkham (Thailand) bt Laxman Rawat (India) 5-0 (83 (83)-00, 79-41, 64-44, 104-4, 75-04).

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