The Indian challenge ended in the IBSF World Under-21 snooker championship when Pankaj Advani went down 1-6 to experienced Australian professional Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals at Taupo, New Zealand, on Sunday.
Though the final scoreline may indicate a one-sided match, Pankaj, the 18-year old National champion from Bangalore, and the top seed, had his chances in most of the frames, but failed to capitalise and lost 34-65, 34-79, 87-1, 12-88, 30-86, 64-66, 57-61.
Unseeded Robertson, the 21-year old from Melbourne, who turned professional in 1998, had never crossed the pre-quarter-finals in this event, but was consistent enough on the day to emerge winner.
Pankaj, a semi-finalist at the 2002 championship held in Riga, Latvia, after losing the first two frames, came back strongly in the third with a break of 57 to make it 1-2. But Robertson, the reigning Australian junior champion, pouched the next three frames on breaks of 87, 62 and 51, for a commanding 5-1 lead.
He then clinched the seventh frame on the black to advance to the semi-finals, where he meets defending champion and fifth seed Ding Junhui of China, who saw off fourth seeded Bredan O'Donoghue of Ireland 6-4.
Meanwhile, second seeded Mark Allen, the 17-year old from Northern Ireland, put out unseeded Chinese Li Yinxi 6-4 with breaks of 50, 51, 61 and 55, to set up a semi-final clash with sixth seeded Liu Song of China.
Liu overcame unseeded 14-year old David Morris of Ireland 6-3 and his consistency was reflected in runs of 55, 62, 53 and 55. Morris left his mark with a break of 76.
The results (quarter-finals): Neil Robertson (Australia) bt 1-Pankaj Advani (India) 6-4 (65-34, 79-34, 1-87, 88-12, 86-30, 66-64, 61-57); 5-Ding Junhui (China) bt 4-Brendan O'Donoghue (Ireland) 6-4; 6-Liu Song (China) bt David Morris (Ireland) 6-3; 2-Mark Allen (N Ireland) bt Li Yinxi (China) 6-6.