Advani edges Mehta to march into semifinals

Advani edges Mehta to march into semifinals

IN CONTROL Pankaj Advani en route to his win over Aditya Mehta in the quarterfinal of the Asian Tour Snooker event in Bengaluru on Wednesday. DH photo/ B H Shivakumar

Pankaj Advani pulled out his best performance in the Asian Snooker Tour third-leg so far, outlasting Aditya Mehta 5-4 (86-5, 27-60, 94-0, 84-0, 10-18, 21-56, 56-1, 4-61, 50-13) in the quarterfinals at the Karnataka State Billiards Association on Wednesday.

In a clash that saw both players produce their A game, Advani never fell behind as he took a 3-1 and 4-3 lead only to see his opponent claw his way back to force the decider.

Advani, who defeated Sourav Kothari earlier in the day, will take on Aung Phyo of Myanmar in the semifinal on Thursday while Ehsan Heydari of Iran, who defeated Pongsakorn Chongjairak of Thailand 5-4 in the last eight, will square off against Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon, also of Thailand.

Tirapongpaiboon defeated Ali Alobaidli of Qatar 5-2.

Phyo had an easy outing against Fung Kwok Wai of Hong Kong in the quarters, strolling to a 5-1 win.

Advani, the ranking leader of the tournament, got off the blocks swiftly to pocket the opening frame with a 55-point break.

Mehta came right back in the next frame, which played out like a mirror image of the first, to level scores.

However, a break of 76 in the third and 84 in the fourth looked to have sent Advani on his way to a routine win as he went 3-1 ahead.

But his Maharashtrian opponent fought his way back in the next two frames.

Although the breaks were significantly lower -- 48 and 40 in the fifth and sixth frames respectively -- it did the job.

The Bengaluru cueist then found his mojo in the seventh frame, winning it comfortably, but then faltered in the eighth frame -- after Mehta had already racked up a 51-point break -- and fouled by pocketing the cue ball, forcing the decider.

With both players having focused strongly on their safety game, Advani’s miscued shot set up the red near the top left pocket but with a brown blocking the path, Mehta’s searching shot missed the intended target, allowing the former to clinch the win in dramatic fashion.

Results: quarterfinals: Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon (Tha) bt Ali Alobaidli (Qat) 5-2 (78-12, 64-15, 108-04, 7-54, 63-18, 67-14); Ehsan Heydari (Irn) bt Pongsakorn Chongjairak (Tha) 5-4 (13-50, 52-40, 59-0, 19-49, 51-1, 38-4, 31-43, 0-72 (68), 62-16; Aung Phyo (Myn) bt Fung Kwok Wai (HK) 5-1 (50-42, 64-27, 57-21, 14-57, 62-17, 45-8); Pankaj Advani (Ind) bt Aditya Mehta (Ind) 5-4 (86-5, 27-60, 94-0, 84-0, 10-48, 21-56, 56-1, 4-61 (51), 50-13).

Pre-quarterfinals: Chongjairak bt Kamal Chawla 5-4; Laxman Rawat lt to Tirapongpaiboon 1-5; Manan Chandra lt to Ali Alobadili 5-2; Yazan Alhadad lt to Nezhad 2-5; Mehta bt Sundeep Gulati 5-1; Fung bt Amir Sarkhosh 5-3; Advani bt Sourav Kothari 5-0.