Pune: Defending champion Pankaj Advani opened his campaign in style by winning both his group matches but eight-time winner Geet Sethi suffered one of the worst starts in his career after losing back-to-back league matches on the opening day of the IBSF World Billiards Championship here on Friday.
Advani made short work of Billy Bousfield of England 3-1 (150-70, 151-61, 37-150, 151-10) and then blanked Chul Ho Hwang of Korea in straight frames (151-31, 150-125, 150-60) to virtually seal a pre-quarterfinal berth in of the Point Format of the prestigious event at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana here.
The biggest draw of the championship was, however, the first round clash between Geet Sethi and nine-time champion Mike Russell of England and it turned out to be a shocker for the 49-year-old Indian.
Sethi seemed too rusty as he struggled to get the roll of the green baize and lost in straight frames to his long-time nemesis.
The 41-year-old Englishman played as if he was in a hurry as he raced to 150-49, 151-9, 150-58 win in less than 90 minutes. Russell went on to win his second league match, beating Min Hu Baek of Korea 150-89, 152-29, 150-8.
Sethi then slumped to another defeat, this time against Myanmar’s Nay Thway Oo to hamper his qualification chances further.
Sethi now has three more league matches remaining and unless he wins them all, it will be difficult for him to move ahead in the championship.
Among the other Indians in the fray, Dhruv Sitwala, Rupesh Shah, Ashok Shandilya and Alok Kumar made a sound start to their campaigns by winning their opening two matches.