Advani eases into pre-quarters

Advani eases into pre-quarters

On a day of confusion, defending champion Pankaj Advani was calmness personified as he swatted aside D Bhuvaneswaran with ease to coast into the pre-quarterfinals of the National Billiards Championship here on Friday.

In a mood from the word go, the 32-year-old 18-time world champion appeared to be a man in a hurry as he bludgeoned Tamil Nadu's Bhuvaneswaran 3-0 (151-32, 151-7, 150-10) under 45 minutes at the KSBA hall.

In his opening Group A affair on Wednesday where he won in just 25 minutes, Advani looked like he was trying to feel his way back into the game after a short off-season break. On Thursday, he was unhappy with the baulkline being not visible but still got the job done in a jiffy. He appeared to be conserving his energy for the knock-outs in another straightforward group stage victory on Friday morning.

In the afternoon, the ONGC cueist hardly put a foot wrong against Bhuvaneswaran, who was reduced to a mere spectator for the most part of the contest. In all Advani made just seven visits to the table, conjuring huge breaks whenever he got the chance to warm up nicely for the bigger battles ahead.

The 51-year-old Bhuvaneswaran actually started on a confident note, knowing the only way he was going to stall Advani's march is by playing positively. He stitched together a break of 30 points before making an error to allow Advani a first look at the table. The Bengalurean instantly hammered a break of 93 points, losing his rhythm only while trying to pot the red ball hard in order to get his cue ball past the baulkline. He instantly admonished himself and then made amends for the mistake by cracking an unfinished 58 to take a 1-0 lead.

In the second frame, all Bhuvaneswaran could do was play one shot after which Advani took charge. Oozing class and confidence, he handed out an education in billiards as he unleashed a break of 151 points. Thereafter, Advani knew he had mentally won the game and that showed in the third frame where he posted a break of 92 points.

Totally lost, Bhuvaneswaran tried to salvage some pride but managed to score just 10 points. Advani then didn't linger around for too long, slamming a break of 58 points to romp home. In the pre-quarterfinals on Saturday morning, Advani will take on Railways' K Venkatesham, who beat Himanshu Jain 3-1.

Other top guns Sourav Kothari, Rupesh Shah, Alok Kumar and Devendra Joshi also registered commanding 3-0 wins, showing no mercy to their respective opponents. Sub-junior and junior billiards and snooker champion S Shrikrishna also had an easier outing, defeating Railways' Durga Prasad 3-0.

Results (Round of 32): Sourav Kothari (PSPB) bt D Rajkumar (Kar) 3-0 (154-57, 152-80, 152-0); Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt D Bhuvaneswaran (TN) 3-0 (151-32, 151-7, 150-10); K Venkatesham (Rlys) bt Himanshu Jain (Tel) 3-1 (52-150, 151-20, 152-117, 151-0); Rohan Jambu Saria (Mah) bt Kamal Chawla (PSPB) 3-0 (152-75, 150-14, 151-128); Alok Kumar (PSPB) bt Prem Prakash (TN) 3-0 (154-13, 150-7, 153-114); Devendra Joshi (PSPB) bt Neeraj Kumar (Rlys) 3-0 (150-132, 150-77, 150-54); Aditya Agarwal (Rlys) bt Kunal Agarwal (Odi) 3-0 (150-130, 150-17, 150-79); Rupesh Shah (PSPB) bt Sasha Sambi (Kar) 3-0 (154-0, 150-32, 150-0); S Shrikrishna (TN) bt Durga Prasad (Rlys) 3-0 (150-29, 150-58, 151-122); Dhvaj Haria (PSPB) bt Rishabh Kumar (Mah) 3-0 (152-25, 152-32, 150-79); B Bhaskar (Kar) bt Subrat Das (Odi) 3-0 (150-46, 151-33, 150-19); Brijesh Damani (PSPB) bt A Satish Kumar (Kar) 3-1 (151-123, 153-50, 102-152, 151-46); Dhruv Sitwala (PSPB) bt S Simachalam (Rlys) 3-0 (150-9, 150-3, 150-61); Manan Chandra (PSPB) bt Rishabh Thakkar (Mah) 3-0 (155-127, 154-141, 150-92); Sundeep Gulati (Del) bt Rafath Habib (Rlys) 3-2 (50-151, 150-40, 150-70, 115-150, 151-129);

Saturday's fixtures: 10:30 am: Round of 16; 5:30 pm: Quarterfinals.

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