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Yasin Merchant in Asian snooker final

June 16, 2007 22:23 IST

Yasin Merchant remained on course for a third title when he beat Pakistan's Khurrum Agha to move into the final of the 23rd Asian Snooker Championship in Karachi on Saturday.

Merchant, who won the Asian title in 1989 and 1991, including once in Karachi, used his experience and skills to overcome Agha 72-6 (60), 76-5, 0-95 (74), 15-53, 34-52, 71-38, 65-02 (55), 66-60, 48-57, 74-38.

That wiped out the lone Pakistani left in contention after the shock defeats of favourites Mohammad Yousuf and Saleh Mohammad.

Yasin now plays Supoj Saenia of Thailand, who beat Jin Long (China) 50-34, 88-30, 55-63, 72-47, 31-16, 63-5, 113-7 in the other semi-final, on Sunday's best of 13-frame final.

"It was a tough match and to be honest I was not very confident of winning this match. But he (Agha) made some unforced errors and I capitalized on them at crucial parts of the match," Merchant said.

The Indian, who has a big fan following in the snooker circles in Karachi, was down 2-3 before fighting back to win the semi-final to the disappointment of the local fans.

With controlled potting and master safety play, the talented Agha staged a fantastic recovery after losing the opening two frames and gained 3-2 lead.

However the experienced Merchant, after amending some crucial mistakes in the third, fourth and fifth frames, then took control, potting consistently, to win comfortably in the end.

The 40-year-old Merchant from Mumbai was in control from the sixth frame and also produced a smart break of 60 in a crucial frame to demoralise Agha's efforts.

Merchant had defeated Jin Long of China in the final at the same venue six years ago.

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