Advani, Kothari in semis of IBSF World Billiards C`ship

New Delhi: Former champion Pankaj Advani and young cuiest Sourav Kothari registered hard fought victories to enter the semifinals in the Point Format of IBSF World Billiards Championship being played in Carlow, Ireland.

While Advani had to bring in all his experience to the table to overcome Peter Gilchrist of Singapore 4-3, Kothari prevailed over teammate Dhruv Sitwla 4-2 in the quarterfinals played last night at The Ivory Rooms.

However, it was curtains for veteran and eight-time world champion Geet Sethi and 1998 Asian Games Billiards Single gold medalist Ashok Shandilya who lost their respective quarterfinals with an identical scorelines to bow out of the championship to be played till September 1.

While Sethi lost to Praput Chaithanasukan of Thailand 152-134, 38-150, 150-47, 53-150, 141-150, 98-150, Shandilya went down 95-150, 150-145, 92-150, 66-150, 150-56, 66-150 to reigning champion in both Time and Point formats Mike Russell of England in the other last-eight stage match.

In the semifinals, Kothari will take on Russell while Advani will lock horns against Praput C.

In the quarterfinal match between Advani and Gilchrist, the Indian, under the threat of losing the match, came up with much more strength and determination to overcome the spirited challenge from the Singaporean.

Winning the first game with an unfinished break of 121, he went down when Gilly produced two unfinished breaks of 150 and 86 in next two games.

Advani countered the challenge by giving another unfinished break of 85 to level the match. Gilly did not want him to walk away so easy and smashed another unfinished break of 141 to move ahead.

Advani left in do or die situation, produce two back to back unfinished breaks of 151 and 150 to save the match. Joyous Advani rated this match as his best during this championship. Accepting that Gilly put him under pressure and last two sequel breaks were the saviors of the match, Advani told IBSF, "My Last two breaks were certainly the demand of the match. When I went down 2-3, it was an alarm for me to do now or never."

In the other quarter final, the defending champion Mike Russell outplayed former World champion, Ashok Shandilya 4-2. Overall dominance from Mike in first game countered by Ashok brilliantly where he smashed a break of 148, but Mike sniffing the threat grabbed next two games to advance 3-1. Ashok, however, managed to get one more game before bowing down to Mike 4-2.

In another shocking result, Sourav Kothari outplayed his compatriot and former IBSF World Billiards runner-up Dhruv Sitwala 4 games to 2. From the initial stages of the match, he took all controls in his hand and did not miss to penalize any mistake committed by Dhruv.

Whenever Sourav got the chance, he converted into decent breaks and took a lead of 3-1. Dhruv managed to win one more game but that was not enough for him to save the match. Finally Sourav advanced to Semis winning 4-2.

One more surprising result came from Table No.10 where Praput C outplayed eight times world champion Geet Sethi 4-2. In a sheer hard luck, Geet missed two games where he was leading way ahead to Praput, but those misses by Geet were timely penalised by Praput to meet Advani in the semi final.

Semi Final line up:

Pankaj Advani (India) vs Praput Chaithanasukan (Thailand) Mike Russell (England) vs Sourav Kothari (India).


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