Mehta lifts Asian snooker crown

Mehta lifts Asian snooker crown

Aditya Mehta capped a glorious April for Indian cue sports, annexing the title at the Asian Snooker Championship with a coming-of-age performance in Doha on Saturday night. 

Thrilled : Aditya Mehta with the Asian Snooker trophy.

Nearly three weeks after ace cueist Pankaj Advani captured the Asian Billiards Championship for a record fifth time and days after R Umadevi Nagaraj laid her hands on snooker title and the billiards crown in the Seniors category for a grand double at the WLSPBA Championship, the 25-year-old Mehta produced a splendid display to stun Advani 7-5 in the final of the continental bash.

Mehta, who had finished runner-up in his last two appearances at the same event and had to play second fiddle for most part to Advani on the national circuit since his junior days, made his third attempt count at the Asian Championship, completing a brilliant journey to the summit that saw him sign off undefeated in 10 matches.

“I feel extremely thrilled about winning the gold,” said an ecstatic Mehta. “After my earlier attempts where I won two silvers, I was determined to get the gold this year which is why it means much more to me. It gives me immense pleasure to know that I am the third Indian to have won such a prestigious title.”

Despite scoring a superb semifinal victory over reigning IBSF World Snooker Champion and Asian U-21 snooker winner Hossein Vafaei Ayouri earlier in the day, Mehta appeared nervous at the start. Advani cashed in on Mehta’s tentativeness, notching up a break of 60 points to win the opening frame 90-11.

However, Mehta who currently plies his trade on the professional circuit, hit back quickly winning the second and third frames 72-57, 76-9 for a 2-1 lead. Not the one to buckle down, seven-time world champion Advani conjured up a sizzling 116-point break in the fourth to level the proceedings at 2-2, setting up a rivetting finish.

Mehta took the fifth 74-22, Advani won the next 60-56 before the former turned the heat on the latter, winning three frames on the trot (77-7, 72-64, 80-0) to open up a comfortable 6-3 lead, putting himself within one frame of victory.

Advani did show his mental toughness by winning the next two frames 82-40, 99 (54)-9 to reduce the margin to 5-6. However, the task proved to be too difficult for Advani as Mehta fought tooth and nail in the 12th frame to capture it 59-47, and with it the gold.

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