Advani reigns supreme

Advani reigns supreme

Pankaj Advani, the undisputed cue sports king in the country, handed upcoming youngster Dhvaj Hariaa a brutal lesson, decimating him in an embarrassingly lop-sided final to retain his Senior National Billiards Championship crown here on Monday.

Dominant as he has been throughout the tournament, the 32-year 18-time world champion hardly allowed his opponent a chance to break free, posting an effortless 5-0 (151 (147)-0, 152 (109)-0, 151 (138)-36, 151 (151)-0, 152 (84)-112 (67)) win to deservedly draw huge cheers from the sizeable crowd at the KSBA hall. "I executed my plans perfectly today," said a delighted Advani after winning his ninth senior billiards title and an overall 31st at all levels.

"In the final you always want to do well because you do not want to let your opponent in with too many chances, especially in the first 2-3 frames. I was seeing the ball really well. The first three frames were really the key. After 3-0, I knew I had control over the game, but I put everything in the first three frames."

Advani, who galloped to the title without dropping a single frame, was in a destructive mood from the time he took aim. Just as he mentioned, he came out with a clear-cut plan and executed them to the hilt. After taking a minute to assess the table and the conditions, the PSPB cueist signalled his intentions with a sensational break of 147 points.

Even in the second frame, where he produced a masterclass in potting, Advani hardly gave Haria a sniff of the table. He blasted a break of 109 points, the chance to seal the frame in one go halted after the red ball also went in while attempting an in-off. He then came again to rifle in 35 points of which 33 points were scored amazingly with just two balls - red and his cue ball - on the table.

At that moment, Haria wore a mixed look. While the 23-year-old was happy to see an artist perform at his best, the fact that he was the victim of an absolute shellacking was not lost on his face. He appeared prepared for a defeat, only hoping the finish is not as a brutal as the start.

Haria did have his chances in the third but he just couldn't recover from the blows of the opening two frames. He erred twice and Advani then feasted on the mistake, hammering a break of 138 points to take a commanding 3-0 lead.

Both players then broke for a 20-minute interval but Advani came out all guns blazing in the fourth frame too, producing a break of 151 points. The focus next was if he could finish things off in a blaze with a fifth century break. The Bengalurean looked on course but got himself into a bad position while trying to cross the baulkline when on 86 points. That and a miss while trying to play a cannon a little later were perhaps the only two mistakes he did in an otherwise flawless show, the win coming following a 21-point effort.

Results: Final: Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Dhvaj Haria (PSPB) 5-0 (151 (147)-0, 152 (109)-0, 151 (138)-36, 151 (151)-0, 152 (84)-112 (67)). Third place play-off: B Bhaskar (Kar) bt Rupesh Shah (PSPB) 3-2 (150-57, 62-150, 151-116, 26-150, 152 (152) -9). Final standings: 1. Pankaj Advani; 2. Dhvaj Haria; 3. B Bhaskar; 4. Rupesh Shah; 5. Alok Kumar (PSPB); 6. Siddharth Parikh (Rlys); 7. Devendra Joshi (PSPB); 8. Brijesh Damani (PSPB).

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