Clinical Advani advances

Clinical Advani advances

Indian ace flattens Englishman Slessor

Clinical Advani advances

Ace cueist Pankaj Advani once again took up the mantle of carrying the nation’s hopes, producing a measured performance to enter the second round of the Indian Open here on Wednesday.

Taking aim after main hope and lone professional player Aditya Mehta crashed out in the qualifying round a day earlier, Advani displayed his usual tactical prowess to flatten Englishman Elliot Slessor 4-0 (60-22, 69-1, 72-0, 65-8).

After struggling to come to terms with the Star tables in the wild card round, the 30-year-old appeared to have slowly got a grip of things as he downed an erratic Slessor without breaking much sweat.

There weren’t any major breaks, sensational potting or even dazzling stroke play but the reigning IBSF world champion (15-red and 6-red) put all his experience to good use in a classic get-the-job-done show.

“When you’ve played for this long, you know that sometimes you don’t have keep scoring century breaks to win,” said Advani, whose highest break of the day was just 47 points which came in the final frame. “Today when the opportunity presented itself I went for it but predominantly I just kept things to myself. I cut out the flamboyance as I knew a win was all that I needed. I’m glad to be in the second round without much fuss against an attacking player like Elliot.”

Advani, who next takes on Stephen Maguire, barely hit even third gear but hardly appeared in any sort of trouble as Elliot kept squandering chances. Realising his opponent was having a bad day in the office, Advani kept making those mini breaks of 20-odd and 30-odd points to always stay ahead in the contest.

Two other Indians, Ishpreet Chadha and Dilip Kumar, expectedly exited in contrasting fashion. Chadha, the current national junior snooker and billiard champion, raised hopes of a sensational upset with a blazing start before running out of gas against the multi-faceted Dominic Dale, losing 2-4. Chadha, a budding youngster holding plenty of promise, cracked an 84-point break in the opening frame to draw attention. He, however, couldn’t sustain the momentum as Dale sized him quickly and tightened his game to run away victorious. 

Dilip Kumar, facing Hong Kong legend Marco Fu, hardly offered a trace of fight, going down rather tamely 0-4. Fu, who has beaten the great Ronnie O’Sullivan, started and ended with a bang in an authoritative performance. The three world champions in action on Wednesday kick-started their campaign on a promising note. Mark Williams downed Zhang Yong 4-1 in the morning session, Shaun Murphy trounced Daniel Wells by the same margin while Peter Ebdon handed an education to Chinese youngster Zhou Yuelong, posting a 4-1 win later in the evening.

Results (Round 1, England unless mentioned): Mark Davis bt Robin Hull (Fin) 4-3 (78 (62)-0, 51-68, 84-0, 119 (63)-1, 59-71 (56), 1-124 (124), 74 (74)-25); Dominic Dale (Wal) bt Ishpreet Chadha (Ind) 4-2 (51-84 (84), 89-26, 73-33, 69-38, 0-97 (73), 123 (57, 64)-0); Nigel Bond bt Ricky Walden 4-1 (66-16, 65-23, 41-66, 71-14, 110 (106)-0); David Lilley bt Mike Dunn 4-2 (75-8, 66-12, 59-13, 54-65, 16-69 (56), 99 (80)-35); Pankaj Advani (Ind) bt Elliot Slessor 4-0 (60-22, 69-1, 72-0, 65-8); Gary Wilson bt Zhao Xintong (Chn) 4-1 (65-47, 84-31, 48-59, 88-15, 79-43); Sam Baird bt Jack Lisowski 4-3 (40-48, 22-79, 93-0, 78-56, 76 (76) -0, 21-71, 82 (82) -0); Mark Williams (Wal) bt Zhang Yong (Chn) 4-1 (55-44, 57-37, 48-59, 68(60) -1, 80 (67) -0); Shaun Murphy bt Daniel Wells (Wal) 4-1 (65 (65)-3, 68-1, 64-35, 29-62, 81-27); John Astley bt Ryan Day (Wal) 4-3 (120 (91)-9, 50-76, 1-83(83), 88 (88)-15, 0-137 (137), 79-71, 90 (90)-0); Matthew Selt bt David Grace 4-2 (17-74, 49-64, 100 (100)-0, 65-59, 68-24, 84-41); Xiao Guodong (Chn) bt Jimmy Robertson 4-3 (101 (101)-0, 73-35, 114 (114)-12, 32-76, 21-83 (83), 0-86 (79), 78 (69)-44); Peter Ebdon bt Zhou Yuelong (Chn) 4-1 (6-83, 72-4, 69 (61)-22, 76-41, 73-33); Barry Hawkins bt Ashley Hugill 4-0 (66-29, 93-25, 86-15, 68-1); Anthony McGill (Sco) bt Oliver Brown 4-1 (61-34, 83 (83)-0, 38-60, 63-6, 62-2); Anthony Hamilton bt Eden Sharav (Sco) 4-3 (5-82, 108 (92)-0, 75-48, 4-84, 49-58, 80 (80)-0, 69-1); Stephen Maquire (Sco) bt Alfie Burden (Eng) 4-0 (87 (52)-0, 92 (69)-7, 71-28, 85-48); Marco Fu (HK) bt Dilip Kumar (Ind) 4-0 (85 (81)-0, 62-2, 64-55, 104 (104)-1). 

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