Bingtao, Sajjad to lock horns in final

Bingtao, Sajjad to lock horns in final

Finesse triumphed over flamboyance as a methodical Muhammed Sajjad categorically dismantled teenage sensation Zhao Xintong to storm into the final of the Seaways IBSF World Snooker Championship here on Friday.

Smarting from the defeat he suffered at the hands of the Chinese kid at the same stage of the competition last year, Pakistani Sajjad exacted perfect revenge with a brilliant 7-3 victory at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium.

In his maiden world championship final on Saturday, Sajjad will lock horns with another Chinese wonderkid Yan Bingtao. The 14-year-old, who stunned 12-time world champion Pankaj Advani 6-4 in the quarterfinal earlier in the day, showed amazing composure in downing Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn of Thailand 7-5 in his last-four battle.

Meanwhile, Belgian potting machine Wendy Jans stayed on course for an unprecedented hat-trick after easing past two-time champion Ng On Yee 4-1 in the first women’s semifinal while dark horse Anastasia Nechaeva defeated her fellow Russian Daria Sirotina 4-2 in the second semis.

Determined to make up for the painful loss he suffered while leading 5-3 against Xintong in Latvia last year, Sajjad served up an exhibition of snooker seen mostly amongst top-level players in the pro ranks.

Sajjad had to be at the top of his game against the 17-year-old and the 28-year-old Pakistani did just that for the entirety of the match. He barely gave Xintong an opening and whenever he appeared on the table, Sajjad rarely missed anything too, building big breaks regularly to reduce the Chinese to a mere spectator.

Taking time between every shot of his, Sajjad’s performance had it all. From some pocket-smacking long-rangers to delicate roll-ins, his angles, execution and break-building all oozed class. Barring the opening, third and 10th frames, there was simply no errors from Sajjad, who played like a man possessed.

Xintong took the opening frame with a 69-point break but Sajjad hit back soon with a 62-pointer in the second to level things up. The third frame was a bit of a yo-yo affair with both players posting some mini breaks before Sajjad seemed to take control. On a 44-point break and looking good to wrap it up, he missed the pink ball to the centre-left pocket. Although the pink rolled to safety, Sajjad sold it very soon and the Chinese gladly accepted the present, rifling in both the pink and the black to hit the front at 2-1.

Though disappointed at squandering a great chance, Sajjad barely allowed that lapse to affect him. He gathered his composure quickly, won the fourth and fifth with some precision snooker before switching gears in destructive fashion. He smashed a 98-point break in the sixth, missing a century narrowly after mistiming a red, but then made up for that with a blistering 120-point clearance in the seventh to completely take command of the encounter.

Not knowing what hit him, southpaw Xintong still showed why he is considered as the next big thing in Chinese snooker. He ripped off a 91-clearance in the eighth frame which included an audacious right-hand pink ball pot that drew cheers from the audience.
However, Sajjad hit back with vengeance, smashing his second century – a 103-point clearance – to show who the boss is. The 10th frame ebbed and flowed for a while with fatigue showing on their faces. But, knowing how dangerous Xintong can get, Sajjad tightened his game quickly to walk away victorious.

Men: Semifinals: Muhammad Sajjad (Pak) bt Zhao Xintong (Chn) 7-3 (16-74 (69), 70 (62)-8, 53-64, 67-18, 103 (67)-0, 98 (98)-1, 124 (120)-14, 9-105 (91), 103 (103)-29, 53-11); Yan Bingtao (Chn) bt Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn (Tha) 7-5 (72-27, 51-62, 12-122, 35-57, 68-14, 59-2, 115-24, 32-70, 54-52, 18-67, 82 (54)-66, 73-5).

Quarterfinals: Kritsanut L bt Amir Sarkhosh (Ira) 6-3 (40-71, 69-40, 83(67)-15,  02-115, 102(74)-00, 57-01, 63-19, 51-67, 76-55(52)); Z Xintong bt Adrian Ridley (Aus) 6-5 (02-51, 76(63)-14, 01-74, 0-106(106), 71-52, 0-81, 70-52 (52), 70-45, 139 (139)-0, 102 (66)-04); M Sajjad bt Manan Chandra (Ind) 6-1 (80-20, 68-39, 85-19, 59-18, 44-77, 80-32, 70-27); Y Bingtao bt Pankaj Advani (Ind) 6-4 (38-63, 47 (44)- 75 (57), 107 (107)-00, 68-10, 60-16, 4-83 (49), 89 (79)-24,  40 (40)-67, 71-26, 59-40).

Women: Semifinals: Wendy Jans (Bel) bt Ng On Yee (HK) 4-1 (52-30, 63-24, 21-94, 73-8, 70-22); Anastasia Nechaeva (Rus) bt Daria Sirotina (Rus) 4-2 (47-50, 50-62, 50-24, 44-8, 72-47, 68-21).

Quarterfinals: Wendy J bt Chitra Magimairaj (Ind) 4-1 (51-38, 22-66, 88 (88)-1, 67 (40)-11, 61-52); Ng On Yee (HK) bt Siripaporn N 4-1 (46-40, 57-43 (31), 67 (33)-01, 41-42, 71 (56)-28); Anastasia N bt Ka Kai wan (HK) 4-0 (68-30, 55-19, 73 (41)-09, 62-30); Daria S bt Siraphat CHitchomnart (Tha) 4-0 (77 (56)-59, 65-08, 71-35, 76(30)-09).

Masters: Semifinals: Darren Morgan (Wal) bt Chuchart Trairattanapradit (Tha) 5-3 (78 (66) -0, 40-67, 52-65, 93 (93) -12, 50-60, 80-17, 104 (54) -8, 69 (61) -8); Phisit Chandsri (Tha) bt Craig MacGillivray (Sco) 5-2 (44-76, 51-65, 79 (64) -0, 64-8, 77 (70) -29, 80-50, 92-40).
Quarterfinals: Craig M bt Noel Rodrigues Moreira (Bra) 4-3 (40-73, 20-61 (46), 55 (41)-36, 72-46, 90 (77)-13, 05-51, 63-10); P Chndsri bt Choon Kiat Tey (Sin)  4-0 (127 (80)-04, 82-00, 71-61, 83-12); C Trairattanapradit bt Rafath Habib (Ind) 4-3 (28-94, 93-27, 74-52, 67-28, 58-68, 56-67, 56-45); D Morgan bt BV Srinivas Murthy (Ind) 4-0 (58-31, 86 (49)-34, 61-52, 84 (66)-20).

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)