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3 Indians in World Pro billiards quarter-finals

October 29, 2010 16:35 IST

Three Indians, including reigning World champion Pankaj Advani, moved into the quarter-finals of the World Professional Billiards championship following clinical victories over their respective opponents on the second day of the event in Leeds.

The 25-year-old Advani notched his third straight victory in Group A, brushing aside the challenge of compatriot Devendra Joshi 818-469 to advance to the last-eight stage at the Northern Snooker Centre.

The National snooker champion struck up breaks of 134, 209 and 101.

Advani, who last year created history by becoming the second Indian, after Geet Sethi, to win the elusive World Pro title, will face Kolkata's Sourav Kothari in the final group match to decide the winner of Group A.

However, the match between the two green baize experts, will not have any significant bearing on the group standings, as Kothari, son of national billiards coach Manoj Kothari, also sealed a place in the quarter-finals following a 718-262 win over England's Martin Goodwill in 30 visits to the table.

In his first match of the opening session, Kothari made short work of compatriot Sushrut Pandia, outclassing him 1152-189 with the help of five century breaks which also included the tournament's highest -- 1100.

Advani and Kothari have won three matches each and the final encounter between them will decide the No 1 and 2 positions in Group A. The top two players from each group will advance to the knock-out stage, starting Saturday.

Five-time winner Geet Sethi, making his 19th appearance in the event, scored an emphatic 1199-223 win over England's Matthew Sutton before narrowly beating compatriot Rupesh Shah 461-441 to also seal a berth in the knock-out stage.

With an all-win record, Sethi topped Group B and joined the likes of Advani and Kothari in the last-eight stage.

In the match between Rupesh and Geet, the former, on his first visit, crafted a break of 230 and put himself in a strong position to challenge the Ahmedabad veteran. Rupesh was well-placed, with just eight minutes left on the clock and Sethi down by 108 points. But the cue maestro stepped on the pedal in time to score an unfinished 128 and seal the match by a mere 20 points.

In the last session against Sutton, Sethi struck up three century breaks, including the tournament's second highest 517, to breeze past his English opponent in just 15 visits to the table.

In the other matches involving Indians, Joshi lost narrowly 493-500 to Goodwill despite a break of 207, in Group A.

In Group B, Siddharth Parikh waged a grim battle against Sutton before going down 351-385 after 22 visits to the table. However, Parikh scored a consolation win over England's Bem French 964-201 in the last session, scoring breaks of 105 and 121.

In Group C, Dhruv Sitwala defeated England's David 593-498 while Ashok Shandilya lost 386-560 to another Englishman Mark Hirst in 20 visits to the table.

In Group D, Thursday's surprise package Robert Marshall, who defeated nine-time winner and title favourite England's Mike Russell, came out with another clinical performance to beat Gary Rogers by a margin of 582 points and stay in the race for a knock-out berth.

Singapore's Peter Gilchrist, another title favourite, had a mixed outing, losing his first match against Russell 393-719 before winning 674-422 against Marshall in 34 visits, to stay in the hunt for a knock-out berth.

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