Mehta pips Advani to enter semis

Mehta pips Advani to enter semis

Mumbaikar to face World No 5 Stephen Maquire in the last four encounter

Mehta pips Advani to enter semis

 Aditya Mehta held on to the bragging rights in his renewed tussle with Pankaj Advani, sealing another career-defining victory over his long-time rival to storm into the semifinals of the Indian Open World Ranking Snooker Tournament here on Thursday.

In an attritional contest, the 27-year-old displayed great fortitude in grinding out a 4-3 (29-70, 70-0, 68-82, 58-43, 65-24, 40-65, 72-0) victory and thus creating history by becoming the first Indian to ever seal a last-four spot in a ranking event.

“I don’t want to stop here,” said a delighted Mehta. “I want go on and win the title. It was a fantastic match and all credit for Pankaj for pushing me to the limits. However, I knew I had the abilities to pull it off and I’m really glad with the victory,” he added.

In the semifinals on Friday, the Mumbaikar will take on World No 5 Stephen Maquire, who had his back to the wall before pulling off a hard-fought 4-3 (29-60, 90 (90) -22, 0-133­ (133), 0-125 (125), 78 (77) -0, 73 (73) -23, 52-47) victory over Michael White.

Star attraction Ding Jinhui, meanwhile, oozed class, polishing off World No 1 Neil Robertson 4-2 (96 (72)-4, 76 (52) -52, 0-86 (86), 0-104 (104), 85 (85) -10, 91 (91) -0) in quick time.

The Chinese prodigy, a heavy favourite for the title now, will lock horns with Robbie Williams after the Englishman crushed Anthony McGill 4-0 (79-0, 70-54 (54), 107 (100) -0, 75-26). Having played second fiddle to Advani for the better part of his junior days, Mehta has been gradually upstaging the Bangalorean over the last four years after scoring some impressive victories to announce his arrival on the big stage.

He did it yet again to assert his status as the ‘Snooker Specialist’ of the country. With both cueists scoring impressive victories earlier in the day against robust names to set a mouth-watering quarterfinal clash, the air was abuzz with plenty at stake.

Both had a chance to create history at home and with both having seen so much of each other for over a decade now, the contest was more a clash of tactics rather than an all-out attack affair that the fans had come out in numbers to witness. Almost every frame lasted longer the other as Advani kept throwing challenges after challenges to Mehta.

But the Mumbaikar, now far more matured and confident of his abilities thanks to his near five-year stint on the Pro Tour, kept bailing himself out with some sensational rescue play to land eventually the knockout blow on the stroke of midnight.

Advani started off promisingly, conjuring mini breaks of 24 and 43 to open up a 1-0 lead before things came to a standstill in the marathon second frame. For 20 minutes, neither of the cueists scored a point, scared to take the risk in the high-stakes match, waiting patiently to cash in on the other person’s error.

Mehta eventually won the 38-minute long frame with a break of 45 before succumbing in a 63-minute marathon third frame where he was pushed to the corner several times by Advani.  He, however, didn’t allow the pressure to get the better of him, bouncing back in style in the fourth and then put himself within one frame of victory after winning the fifth with a fine break of 55. Not the one to bow out without a fight Advani took the match into the decider but Mehta eventually prevailed, scoring mini breaks of 38 and 33 and bringing the humdinger to an end and raising hopes of a home champion.

Results: Quarterfinals: Ding Junhui bt Neil Robertson 4-2 (96 (72)-4, 76 (52) -52, 0-86 (86), 0-104 (104), 85 (85) -10, 91 (91) -0); Robbie Williams bt Anthony McGill 4-0 (79-0, 70-54 (54), 107 (100) -0, 75-26); Stephen Maguire bt Michael White 4-3 (29-60, 90 (90) -22, 0-133­ (133), 0-125 (125), 78 (77) -0, 73 (73) -23, 52-47); Aditya Mehta bt Pankaj Advani 4-3 (29-70, 70-0, 68-82, 58-43, 65-24, 40-65, 72-0).

Pre-quarterfinals:  Ding Jinhui bt John Higgins 4-2 (27-84, 62-21, 62 (51)-25, 109 (92)-0, 0-94 (94), 77 (77)-0); Anthony McGill bt Joe Perry 4-2 (0-80 (64), 72 (56)-52, 77 (69)-6, 30-71 (56), 109-22, 138 (138)-0); Robbie Williams bt Mike Dunn 4-0 (57-49, 134 (95)-0, 67-5, 63-55 (55)); Pankaj Advani bt Stuart Bingham 4-3 (99 (53)-26, 1-117 (117), 80 (67)-15, 69-16, 11-72 (72), 8-119 (119), 86 (86)-30); Neil Robertson bt Liang Wenbo 4-2 (96 (96)-39, 61 (61)-42, 10-68, 32-65, 87 (87)-0, 100 (100)-0); Aditya Mehta bt Mark Williams 4-2 (34-65, 79 (54)-21, 85 (66)-0, 45-74, 63-49, 70-41); Michael White bt GaryWilson 4-3 (78 (78)-49, 0-84 (84), 133 (55, 71)-0, 0-136 (135), 59-43, 25-73 (64), 89 (56)-0); Stephen Maguire bt Mark Davis 4-2 (68-70, 70 (50)-0, 0-96 (96), 70 (64)-45, 93 (55)-16, 69-45).

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox