New Delhi: Eight-time world champion Pankaj Advani continued his fine run to reach the pre-quarterfinals of the third European Players Tour Championship (PTC) of the season, the Bluebell Wood Open, being held at Doncaster Dome in Sheffield.
India`s leading snooker professional, Advani notched up a series of wins en route his round of 16 appearance, which included the prized scalp of the former world and UK champion, Peter Ebdon.
On Day 1, Advani, the first Indian to qualify for the Indian Open, faced a tough opponent in Ebdon in the round of 128. Advani was straightaway put on the back foot as Ebdon opened the best-of-seven frames proceedings with a century break of 112.
Within minutes, Ebdon raced to a 2-0 advantage. The Bangalore-based cueist then responded to bring it back to two-all with a mix of small breaks and snookers.
A 61 break in the fifth frame placed the Englishman a frame away from ousting his younger opponent. But at 2-3 down, Advani rose to the occasion and displayed great snooker to outclass the veteran cueist in the next two frames and win the keenly-contested tie 4-3.
Up against Ian Burns next, Advani gave no room to his opponent to settle down and fired in two breaks of 57 in the first and third frames to blank him 4-0.
In the final match of the day, the round of 32, Advani was facing the seasoned Northamptonshire cueist Rory McLeod.
Advani continued the onslaught of heavy scoring and with a break of 52, the Indian created his second consecutive whitewash, winning the match 4-0 to advance to the pre-quarters of the prestigious event.
While Advani gets to rest on Day 2, the other Indian Aditya Mehta will be in action, first up against Nigel Bond of England.
Advani resumes his campaign the next day against two-time world champion Mark Williams.
"It`s only my second season and I am really happy with the consistency. I am enjoying the competition and the playing conditions. I look forward to the rest of the season and hope to continue this form to the home event in October," Advani said.
"My next outing on the European circuit will be the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany next week," he added.
Paul Hunter was the beginning of the Advani`s stellar performance on the Pro Circuit last year when in the same tournament, he had defeated multiple world champion and former World No.1 John Higgins of Scotland 4-1.
The PTC is a three-day knockout tournament wherein one half of the draw plays three rounds in a day to reach the pre-quarters. The other half plays on Day 2.
The round of 16 till the final are on the third day.
There are a total of eight European PTCs and four Asian ones in every season. Top-24 in the PTC`s Order of Merit qualify for the PTC Grand Finals to be played from March 18 to 23 next year.
Advani had missed the opening Snooker PTC, Victoria Bulgarian Open, in June due to visa issues while in the second PTC at Rotterdam, he had lost 2-4 in the round of 32 to Ryan Day after winning the opening two rounds.