Pankaj Advani managed to outwit Praput Chaithanasukan of Thailand in a classic contest between the two former world champions in the second semifinal of the 11th ONGC Asian Billiards Championship in Goa, on Saturday.
Advani beat Praput by 5 games to 4 at the Clube Tennis De Gaspar Dias Miramar.
Right from the outset, the match was a toss-up between the two highly skilled cueists.
Advani was the first to gain the required high level of concentration while chalking up an unfinished break of 102 to take the first game.
Exhibiting matching skill and temperament, Praput rallied superbly to take the second and third in which he piled up an unfinished 99 break for an early 2-1 lead.
Not to be outdone, Advani bounced back with an unfinished 100 break, leaving Praput stranded without scoring.
Continuing his fine form, Advani was once again a picture of poise and determination as he uncorked 97 and in the process taking the fifth game to nose ahead by 3-2.
But the Thai player was not finished yet.
Playing in his usual care-free manner, Praput struck again to notch an unfinished 102, restoring parity at 3-all.
The crucial seventh game was the most pulsating one as Advani began scoring points after having traded a couple of safety exchanges with his rival in a patient methodical and calculated manner to reach 96 points, but just when he needed only four points to close the game, he went out of position.
In the ninth and deciding game, Advani scored an useful 71 break in reply to the 46 points gathered by Praput at the given stage. Subsequently, playing with utmost care and caution, Advani finally closed shop with a well executed cannon when just requiring one scoring stroke to win.
However, Thailand had the satisfaction of winning the other semifinal as Thawat Sujaritthuarkarn white-washed the challenge of the other Indian, Devendra Joshi 5 games to nil.