Advani, Shah make it all-Indian affair

Billiards : Bangalorean claims time format title after his compatriots triumph

Advani, Shah make it all-Indian affair

Pankaj Advani and Rupesh Shah produced brilliant performances as India swept the titles in grand style at the World Billiards Championship in Leeds, England.

A day after Rupesh became the fifth Indian to lift a world title twice when he eased past Australia’s Matthew Bolton 6-2 to wear the point format crown, Advani stamped his class in dismantling Mike Russell 1895-1216 to clinch the time format title for his eighth world title at the Northern Snooker Centre on Sunday.

What makes the victory for the 27-year-old Advani sweeter is that he controversially gave up his participation in the International Snooker Championship -- which kicked off on Sunday -- after having secured his ticket by winning his qualifying matches.

Veteran Russell, an 11-time world champion, was never quite in the match though he marked his presence in the early stages when he posted a break of 397 after Advani had jumped to a 400-point lead following a run of 298.

However, Advani made better use of his visits to the table by toting up points on virtually every opportunity to stay well clear of his rival. There were moments in the match when Russell, who cracked the tournament's highest break of 740 in the semifinals, looked to have regained his touch, but failed to attain his imperious touch.

Only during the triple century break did Russell showcase the flow and fluency of the yore, but then on the day, it was Advani who dictated the course of the match with his consistency to clinch his seventh world billiards title.

Though Rupesh lost the opening frame 130-150 despite a dishing out a break of 90, the 39-year-old from Ahmedabad didn’t lose his composure and took a 2-1 lead. He nailed a 139-point break in the second game before posting a 103 in the third.
Bolton, however, hit back in a hard-fought fourth game, a 98-point break helping him level things at 2-2.

On song and seemingly headed towards a 3-2 lead, Bolton, on an 110-point break, missed a cannon with just two points separating him from clinching the game. Rupesh latched onto the offer with both hands, making Bolton pay for the error by winning the fifth 150-148.

In the sixth game, Rupesh produced an unfinished break of 116 to extend his lead to 4-2 and after that he had no real difficulty in cruising home.

Rupesh, who defeated Russell (quarterfinals) and Peter Gilchrist (semifinals) en route the final, won his maiden title at the 2007 IBSF World Billiards Championship (point format).
The other Indians to have won more than two world titles are Wilson Jones, Michael Ferreira, Geet Sethi and Advani.

Results: Points format, final: Rupesh Shah bt Matthew Bolton 6-2 (130-150, 150-0, 150-97, 77-150, 150-148, 150-2, 150-138, 150-100).
Time format, final: Pankaj Advani: 1895 bt Mike Russell: 1216. (Semifinals): M Russell: 1562 (740, 100, 156, 384) bt Matthew Bolton: 1028 (86, 114, 264, 66, 112, 77, 56, 125, 157); P Advani: 1381 (167, 205, 257, 51, 71, 69, 71) bt Dhruv Sitwala: 867 (86, 57, 52, 52, 56, 96, 56, 57, 91).

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