Advani brushes aside Toth; Xintong in full flow

Advani brushes aside Toth; Xintong in full flow

Indian ace Pankaj Advani made the best of an extremely ordinary Mike Toth to wrap up his group campaign on a thumping note while Chinese teen sensation Zhao Xintong dished out another flamboyant performance at the Seaways IBSF World Snooker Championship here on Tuesday.

Having already secured his passage to the knock-out last-64 stage beginning on Wednesday, the 12-time world champion used the encounter against Toth to sharpen his game, coming out 4-0 (90 (53)-12, 61-17, 78 (62)-0, 75-10) victor at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium.

Last year’s runner-up Xinong, just 17 but one of the popular cueists here, potted like a seasoned champion in his polished 4-1 drubbing of Faisal Abbas that had the audience and even his vanquished opponent applauding.

Lucky Vatnani conjured the highest break of the tournament so far – a sizzling 133 points – en route to his 4-2 (60-22, 94-36, 58-65, 133 (133)-0, 45-70, 84-37) win over Chi Wai Au and enter the last-64 stage.

Talented teenager Varshaa Sanjeev, Judy Walia and Neena Praveen confirmed their berths for the last-24 stage in contrasting fashion. While Varshaa eased past Amy Claire King 3-1 (43-25, 34-72, 79-65, 61-37), Judy crushed fellow Indian Suniti Damani 3-0 (68-16, 51-39, 42-29) to sneak her way into the knock-outs by just a frame. Neena, a 3-0 conqueror of R Umadevi Nagaraj, finished third in her group to extend her stay in the tournament. Advani, meanwhile, couldn’t have asked for a better opponent than Toth for his inconsequential final group game. With top spot all but confirmed, the match was just a practice outing for the 29-year-old and the Bengalurean didn’t throw it away. Barring the second frame where his potting looked sloppy, Advani was simply too good for the Swiss cueist who appeared completely out of place in a world championship match.

The 28-year-old Toth, who eventually slumped to his sixth straight defeat and has managed to win a meagre two frames, couldn’t pot to save his life, missing some real sitters that even casual club players would have sunk in.

While Advani would have loved a much tighter contest ahead of the crucial knock-outs considering he himself has not been in the best of forms at this event, struggling to cope with the “tough conditions,” it was complete delight for his mother Kajal making rare visit to watch her champion son play.

Nevertheless, Advani can take heart from the way he played. He posted breaks of 53, 62 and 52 points and on all those occasions he appeared primed to crack his maiden century of the tournament, only to be let down by poor luck.

In the third frame while trying to gain position, he potted the blue too hard and the cue ball then deflected off the bottom side and stood just behind the blue spot, leaving him with a self snooker.

In the fourth frame, on a 52 point ride, the cue ball got positioned itself beside the pink from where he had no choice but to play safe. He soon pocketed the frame to march away with a commanding victory.

“I’m going to come out with a very different strategy from tomorrow. I’m going to curb my attacking instincts and play a defensive game. It’s going to be a more safety first approach,” said Advani.

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