India's leading cueists, Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta, bowed out of the third European Players Tour Championship (PTC) of the season -- the Bluebell Wood Open -- after suffering defeats in their respective round matches at the Doncaster Dome in Sheffield.
Cali World Games gold medallist Aditya did show some glimpses of his famed potting prowess but lacked consistency as he lost 0-4 against four-time world champion John Higgins of Scotland in the second round of the championship.
Advani went down to two-time world champion Mark Williams 0-4 in the pre-quarterfinals to end his dream run in the tournament.
The Welshman entered the best-of-seven frame last-16 match with all guns blazing. He raced to a 1-0 lead with the help of a 68 break. The third frame was where Advani had an outside chance to pull back a frame but a kick on the cueball followed by an in-off on the final green left Williams an open table to clear, which he did without much fuss.
Advani, the eight-time world champion, had notched up a series of victories en-route his round of 16 appearance including the prized scalp of the former world and UK champion Peter Ebdon.
The other Indian in the fray, Aditya started off well in the first frame, constructing a break of 36 but the veteran master of the game, Higgins, came up with breaks of 36 and 28
to surge ahead.
The second frame saw Higgins reign supreme on the green baize as he did not give his opponent any chance to make a comeback with a classy break of 70, winning it comfortably 75-12.
Aditya regrouped his resources and rose to the occasion with some fine potting display in the third frame but Higgins held his nerves and carved out a narrow 68-64 verdict.
There was no let up from Higgins in the fourth frame as the Scotsman gave no room to Aditya to settle down and fired in a break of 64 to blank the Indian 4-0.
In the first round, Aditya had scored a hard-fought 4-3 win against another veteran cueist Nigel Bond of England.
The game went to the wire as fortunes swung from one way to another.
Aditya straightaway put Bond on the back foot as he opened the best-of-seven frames proceedings with small breaks of 27, 20 and 40. Bond clawed his way back in the second frame but Aditya pocketed the next two frames in quick succession to take a healthy 3-1 lead.
The Englishman then brought it back to three-all with breaks of 59 and 30 in the fifth and sixth frame.
It could be anybody's game but Aditya stamped his authority with a dominant display in the seventh frame, constructing two breaks of 42 and 68 to seal the issue in his favour.
Advani and Aditya now head to Germany to participate in the Paul Hunter Classic from August 23 to 25. It is a three-day knockout tournament wherein one half of the draw plays three rounds in a day to reach the pre-quarters. The other half plays on Day 2.
The round of 16 till the final are on the third day.
There are a total of eight European PTCs and four Asian ones in every season. The top 24 in the PTC's Order of Merit qualify for the PTC Grand Finals to be played from March 18 to 23 next year.
Image: Pankaj Advani
Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images for DAGOC