Asian runner-up Yasin Merchant overcame opening round blues to beat Devendra Joshi 3-0 in an exciting Group 'C' match, in the inaugural Rs 250,000 prize-money Nahar Group-MIG All India Invitation Snooker Tournament that got under way at the MIG Club, Bandra, Mumbai, on Wednesday.
Merchant kicked off his campaign in ominous fashion after snatching the opening frame on the black ball to surge to a 52-48, 60-21, 59-45 victory that included a brilliant break of 51 in the second frame.
The tight opening frame reflected Joshi's unfortunate story of missed pots that let Merchant off the hook right through the contest.
The early lead inspired the relieved Merchant in the second frame as he fired that significant break to grab a 2-0 lead.
Joshi kept his hopes alive in the crucial third frame as he began well and was on his way to firing a big break. But when on 20 he missed a simple pink in the centre pocket that allowed Merchant to level the score.
Joshi managed a brief 39-26 lead with three reds and the colours remaining, but Merchant came back to fire a break of 25 and take it away from Joshi.
India No 1 Alok Kumar also got off to a good start when he beat Ashok Shandilya 90-24, 90-34, 65-29, which included significant breaks of 64 in the first frame and 49 in the second, in a Group 'A' tie.
In Group 'D', Manan Chandra earned his first victory when he beat MIG's Gaurav Prabhu 88-20, 75-48, 76-7.
Results (Pre-quarter-final league):
Group 'A': Alok Kumar (PSPB) bt Ashok Shandilya (Rlys) 90(64)-24, 90(49)-34, 65-29; Aditya Mehta (Mumbai) bt Rishabh Pandya (Mumbai) 55-25, 18-61, 94-47, 65-56.
Group 'B': Rupesh Shah (Mumbai) bt Shravan Mohta (Nagpur) 66-53, 71-29, 87(67)-1.
Group 'C': Yasin Merchant (Mumbai) bt Devendra Joshi (PSPB) 52-48, 60(51)-21, 59-45; Brijesh Damani (Kolkata) bt D. Rajkumar (Kar) 42-91, 65-17, 63-42, 70-43.
Group 'D': Manan Chandra (PSPB) bt Gaurav Prabhu (Mumbai) 88-20, 75-48, 76-7.