National champion Pankaj Advani held his nerve to pull off a 5-4 victory over Tian Pengfei of China to enter the quarter-finals of the IBSF World Under-21 snooker championship at Taupo, New Zealand on Saturday.
After opening the match with a brilliant break of 94, Advani had to weather a determined bid by Pengfei. The 18-year old from Bangalore, in fact, led by 4-1 at one stage and appeared well set for a comfortable win when the Chinese fought back to take three frames in a row on the back of a break of 73 in the eighth, to make it 4-4.
However, in the deciding frame, the top seeded Indian displayed good composure under pressure and prevailed on the colours for a 94-4, 54-68, 71-0, 81-43, 54-41, 50-60, 39-66, 1-114, 57-34 verdict.
He will now take on unseeded Neil Robertson of Australia, who upset number eight seed Alex Davies of England 5-4.
Despite Pengfei's loss, the Chinese onslaught continued as three of them, led by defending champion, and fifth seed Ding Junhui, Liu Song (6th seed) and unseeded Li Yinxi, made it to the round of eight which will be played over 11 frames.
Ding was in commanding form as he demolished Adam Davies of England 5-1 with breaks of 62, 86 and 76. Liu was fully stretched by England's Jamie O'Neill before he won 5-4. The Chinese had runs of 58, 136, 73 and 83. Li Yinxi put out seventh seeded Kobkit Palajin of Thailand 5-0.
Second seeded Mark Allen of Northern Ireland and No.4 Brendan O'Donoghue of the Republic of Ireland also qualified for the quarter-finals with comfortable victories.
The results (pre-quarter-finals): 1-Pankaj Advani (India) bt Tian Pengfei (China) 5-4 (94-4, 54-68, 71-0, 81-43, 54-41, 50-60, 39-66, 1-114, 57-34); Neil Robertson (Australia) bt 8-Alex Davies (England) 5-4; 5-Ding Junhui (China) bt Adam Davies (England) 5-1; 4-Brendan O'Donoghue (Ireland) bt James Delahunty (Australia) 5-3; David Morris (Ireland) bt Jamie Jones (Wales) 5-0; 6-Liu Song (China) bt Jamie O'Neill (England) 5-4; Li Yinxi (China) bt 7- Kobkit Palajin (Thailand) 5-0; 2-Mark Allen (Northern Ireland) bt Pramual Janthat (Thailand) 5-0.