Rupesh continues to dominate

Rupesh continues to dominate

Defending champion Advani breezes through

Rupesh continues to dominate

Two-time world champion Rupesh Shah briefly let his mind wander, probably about the ongoing International Kite Festival at his hometown Ahmedabad, but quickly regained his focus to register his second straight win in the National Billiards Championship here on Thursday.

PSPB's Rupesh, who even gave the national championships a miss way back in 2003 when it coincided with his beloved festival, oozed class for most part of his Group B encounter against Siddharth Patni, vanquishing him 3-1 in the morning affair at the KSBA hall.

"I would have loved to be there in Ahmedabad with my friends and families," gushed the 44-year-old cueist. "The kite festival which takes place during Makar Sankranti is huge there and it's one of my favourites. But obviously playing at the nationals is very important. I got off to a good start but slumped a bit in the second frame. The table was playing slow today and I was not getting my rhythm. It's just pool matches and the main thing is to come off with a win."

Having polished off Lakshay Sudi in under 20 minutes in his opening match on Wednesday, Rupesh carried on from when he had left off, blasting a break of 101 points in the first frame to reduce Patni to a mere spectator. An unfazed Patni hit the front in the second frame with a break of 39 points before gifting the table back to Rupesh.

The Ahmedabad cueist, however, suddenly looked very erratic. Twice he had the chance to seal the frame but just couldn't string together a decent break. He made visits of 29 and 44 points but with Patni looking solid during his time at the table it seemed like the MP cueist would level the affair 1-1. But stunningly, Patni missed a regulation red pot while leading 99-54 to present Rupesh with another chance. Rupesh tried hard but Patni eventually won it. Rupesh then bounced back in style, posting a break of 53 points in the third before scoring a 74 in the fourth to complete an eventually polished win.

Defending champion Pankaj Advani had another easy day in the office, trouncing Telangana's Muneem 3-0 in quick time. He looked unhappy with the baulkline being not visible and the 32-year-old took out the frustration on Muneem, posting an effortless 100-30, 100 (100)-0, 101 (71)-10 victory in Group A. Advani will play his final group game on Friday morning before switching focus to the knock-out round-of-32 in the evening.

Karnataka's main hope B Bhaskar made some silly errors in his Group I 3-0 win over qualifier Rovin D'Souza. While he looked in command for most parts, he missed some regulation shots, one while leading 96-90 in the second frame. However with Rovin only showing flashes of brilliance, Bhaskar wrapped up a straight forward win. Bhaskar then blanked Rohan Jambu Saria 3-0 in the evening to emerge as the group topper.

Results: Group A: Durga Prasad (Rlys) bt Tushar Shresta (Bhi) 3-0; Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Muneem (Tlg) 3-0;

Group B: Satish Kumar Amrut (Kar) bt Lakshay Sudi (Ukd) 3-0; Rupesh Shah (PSPB) bt Siddharth Patni (MP) 3-1.

Group C: Prem Prakash (TN) bt Utsav Ramani (Guj) 3-2; Sourav Kothari (PSPB) bt Prem P 3-0.

Group D: Kunal Agarwal (Odi) bt M L Lakshman (Kar) 3-1; Brijesh Damani (PSPB) bt Ankur Khetan (Guj) 3-0; B Damani bt M L Lakshman 3-0.

Group E: Dhruv Sitwala (PSPB) bt D Bhuvaneswaran (TN) 3-1; Ketan Chawla (MP) bt Malkeet Singh (Rlys) 3-0; D Sitwala bt Malkeet S 3-0.

Group F: Siddharth Parik (Rlys) bt Arjun Mehta (Kar) 3-0; Himanshu Jain (Tel) bt IS Malik (UP) 3-1; S Parikh bt H Jain 3-2.

Group G: Dhvaj Haria (PSPB) bt Sasha Sambi (Kar) 3-0; I H Manudev (Kar) bt D Haria 3-2.

Group H: Rafath Habib (Rlys) bt Vishal Madan (Mah) 3-0.

Group I: B Bhaskar (Kar) bt Rovin D'Souza (Rlys) 3-0; Rohan Jambu Saria (Mah) bt M Simhadri Reddy (AP) 3-0; B Bhaskar bt R J Saria 3-0.

Group J: Subrat Das (Odi) bt Vijay Nichani (TN) 3-0; Devendra Joshi (PSPB) w/o KS Naveen Kumar (Kar); D Joshi bt S Das 3-0.

Group K: Aditya Agarwal (Rlys) bt S Simachalam (Rlys) 3-1; Shaym Jagtiani (WB) bt Anseth Pereira (Jhar) 3-0.

Group L: Manan Chandra (Del) bt Rajiv Inugati (AP) 3-0; K Venkatesham (Rlys) bt Michael Rebello (Kar) 3-0.

Group M: Kamal Chawla (Rlys) bt Rishab Kumar (Mah) 3-2.

Group N: Manish Jain (WB) bt Shekar Surve (Rlys) 3-2; Alok Kumar (PSPB) bt Amit Sharma (Del) 3-0;.

Group O: S Shrikrishna (TN) bt Kavya Bharath (TN) 3-1; Neeraj Kumar (Rlys) bt Aamer Hussain (WB) 3-0.

Group P: Rishabh Thakkar (Mah) bt Nikhil Ghadge (Mah) 3-1; Sandeep Gulati (Del) bt Nitin Kohli (UP) 3-1.

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