Manan through despite loss

Manan through despite loss

An error-pro­ne Manan Chandra went do­wn to Jamie Clarke but still made the knock-outs while Chinese sensation Zhao Xintong cracked his maiden ce­n­tury to further strengthen his billing as one of the title favourites at the Seaways IBSF World Snooker Championship here on Monday.

Chandra, showing flashes of his brilliance but regularly slipping into error mode, paid the price as Welshman Jamie Clarke made the best of the gifts that were offered to him, scoring a 4-2 (61-16, 5-69 (67), 38-72, 67-0, 69 (62) -0,  83 (79)-25) victory at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium.

Xintong, who lost his opening match but has been in sizzling touch ever since, smashed a brilliant 121-pointer en route his 4-0 (79-31, 65-32, 123 (121)-1, 86-34) demolition of South Africa’s Muhammad Faaris Khan that assured his passage into the last-64s.

Two-time World Billiards (point format) champion Rupesh Shah extended his stay here with an effortless 4-0 (75-7, 54-48, 88-44, 77-46) thumping of Japanese 13-year-old Keishin Kamihashi while Brijesh Damani, despite suffering a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Muhammad Sajjad, too made the cut.

Vidya Pillai and Arantxa Sanchis also added cheer to the Indian camp by sealing their tickets to the last-24 phase in contrasting styles. While the diminutive Arantxa, needing a win to stay alive after suffering two defeats, ground out a hard-fought 3-2 (49-61, 10-53, 72-47, 70-36, 70-28) win over compatriot and already qualified Amee Kamani, Vidya took two-time champion Ng On Yee to the distance before suffering a 3-2 (38-77, 67-32, 62-42, 2-53, 53-43) loss.

Philippine Denise Santos smashed the maximum break for women in the tournament, rifling in a brilliant 91 points in blanking Russia’s Irina Gorbataya 3-0. Despite her splendid feat, Santos, with just two wins from five matches, is yet to make the cut for the knock-outs.

The match between Clarke and Chandra, both attack-minded players, promised plenty on paper and it did live up to the expectations with the only disappointing feature being the latter displaying his potential just thrice. Known for his lack of consistency throughout his career, Chandra once again alternated between the brilliant and the ordinary, slumping to his second defeat.

The opening frame was a seesaw affair after Clarke had hit the front with a 34-point break. With both players struggling to gain positions for a proper break, they resorted to safety play, Clarke coming out on top in the end of the tactical battle.

Chandra then unleashed himself in the second frame, pouncing on an opening early on and cracking a sweet 67 points as the contest began to warm up nicely. The third frame was an intensely fought one but good fortune came to the aid of Chandra on three occasions and the 33-year-old lapped it up with delight to take a 2-1 lead.

Chandra, sadly, exhausted all the lifelines in that frame itself as he kept missing sitters while in promising positions. Clarke, looking a bit ragged in the fourth frame which he won following two mini breaks, began to find his range from the fifth onwards to punish Chandra.

He pulled off a 62-pointer in the fifth and then followed it up with a 79-point break in the sixth, missing a chance to sign off with a century when he lost position for the brown ball during the colour stages.

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