Aditya becomes 2nd Indian cueist to qualify for Venue Stages

Sheffield: India`s ace cueist and Asian champion, Aditya Mehta became the second Indian after compatriot Pankaj Advani to qualify for the world`s richest pro-snooker tournament Venue Stages to be held in October this year in Chengdu, China.

Aditya registered a thrilling win over England`s Jamie Cope in the final qualifying round to book his place in the Venue Stages of the International Open Tournament late last night.

The 26-year-old Mumbai cueist defeated Cope 6-4 in a high-quality game to move into the final stages of a main ranking event for the first time.

The USD 9,50,000 tournament, to be held in Chengdu in south-west China, will see cr?me de la cr?me of cue sport on the pro circuit competing against each other in the coming months.

Earlier yesterday, seven-time world champion Advani became the first Indian to make an entry into the top league of the pro-circuit with a clinical 6-4 win over England`s Michael Holt.

Advani managed to get into the main ranking event in his very first quarter of participation. Aditya, who has been chosen for the prestigious Arjuna award this year, seemed ecstatic on becoming a part of the Venue Stages.

"This is one of the biggest tournaments in the professional snooker calendar. It`s a great win for me as I have been to the fourth round twice before this season. I am extremely elated at becoming a part of the Venue Stages," said Aditya.

"This is a moment of pride not just for me but also for my country back home. This is the first time India is playing the Venue Stages in a snooker tournament and it gives me immense pleasure to be a part of it," he added.

With a strong opening break of 68, Aditya took the first frame and followed it with another one to go 2?0 up in the first session. Cope, however, levelled the scoreline before the interval.

After the break, the reigning national snooker champion, Aditya won the fifth frame and by the seventh frame, the score was 4?3 in his favour.

After losing the eighth frame to Cope, Aditya bounced back putting pressure on his opponent by winning the ninth frame.

In the decider, Cope led by 46 points and left Aditya a tough pot. The Indian cueist potted it and made one of the best clearances to seal the match with a break of 76.

Aditya, who had made everyone take notice of him earlier this year when he had stunned a much fancied compatriot in Advani to become only the third Indian ever to clinch the Asian Snooker Championships, said he is excited about playing in the cash-rich and highly competitive championship starting October 28.

"The week has proven to be very lucky for me and I am excited about playing the final tournament in China."

The Indian will next be seen playing the EPTC Germany starting this week.