Seven-time World billiards champion Geet Sethi of Gujarat and former National and Asian champion Devendra Joshi of Maharashtra suffered reverses in the league stage of the LIC-BSNL Senior National Billiards and Snooker Championships in Chennai on Tuesday.
While Sethi lost to Sourav Kothari of PSPB 428-270 to suffer his second successive defeat, Joshi, a former World runner-up, met his match against Yogesh Rai of Railways, winning 428-400, in Group 'C' and Group 'B' matches respectively.
Geet, who was beaten by Siddarth Parikh of Railways on Monday, again failed to find his rhythm and went down tamely.
Kothari on the other hand, notched small breaks consistently to gain ascendancy and came out of the hall with his head high.
Sharing the limelight with Kothari was Yogesh Rai of Railways, who kept his cool in tight situations to win by a narrow 28-point margin.
Meanwhile, it was business as usual for other top stars like Pankaj Advani, defending champion Alok Kumar (Punjab) and seasoned Yasin Merchant (Maharashtra), who sustained their winning momentum and enhanced their chances of qualifying for the knock-outphase.
Senior billiards League
Group A: Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Raunaq Vazirani (Guj) 762-200, Shakeel Ahmed (WB) bt Elangovan (TN) 366-284.
Group B: Yogesh Rai (Rlys) bt Devendra Joshi (PSPB) 428-400.
Group C: Sourav Kothari (PSPB) bt Geet Sethi (Guj) 428-270, Yasin Merchant (Mah) bt S Dass (Ori) 561-364.
Group D: Nitin Kohli (UP) bt Balanand Sinha (Bihar) 472- 201.
Group E: B Bhaskar (Kar) bt Rafath Habib (Rlys) 335-330, K Venkatesham (Rlys) bt Nadeem Ahmed (TN) 480-306, Ajay Rehani (Delhi) bt I S malik (UP) 394-373.
Group F: A M Lal (Del) bt Durga Prasad (AP) 325-323, Alok Kumar (PSPB) bt S A Saleem (TN) 742-260, Antim Singhi (Rlys) bt L Durgaprasad (AP) 557-242, Prem Prakash (TN) bt A M Lal (Delhi) 639-282.
Group G: Mohammed Asim (Rlys) bt I V Rajiv (AP) 545-314, V Subramaniam (Maha) bt Neeraj Kumar (Bihar) 384-305.
Group H: Rupesh Shah (Guj) bt B K Sharma (Pun) 693-90, M C Manoj (TN) bt Hasan Haque (Orissa) 365-321, Arun Agarwal (Maha) bt Harish Gandhi (MP) 638-249.