Advani, Sethi off to winning start in World Pro C`ship

Leeds: Reigning champion Pankaj Advani
remained on course for the second successive World
Professional Billiards title after securing contrasting wins
over compatriot Sushrat Pandia and England`s Martin Goodwill
on the opening day of the event here.

In his opening encounter in the five-day-long
championship, Advani produced four century breaks (178, 155,
172 and 125) to score a thumping 1150-167 victory over Pandia
in a lop-sided encounter.

Advani, during his 42 visits to the table, was seen in
his elements and hardly broke a sweat in overwhelming the
lesser known opponent.

However, the second match against Goodwill saw Advani
putting all his experience on the table to score a slender 47
points victory over the Englishman.

Martin was 256 behind Pankaj`s total of 659 with around
30 minutes remaining when he constructed a break of 141 to
reduce the deficit to just 115 points.

Pankaj then scored nine points and broke down, followed
by Martin scoring two (pot white and double baulk). Martin
then, with about 9 minutes remaining, being 120 behind, made a
break of 86 before sinking Advani`s cue ball accidentally
during a drop cannon.

The Indian then came to the table with just two minutes
remaining and scored 13 crucial points without missing any
shot to seal the issue.

Advani had last year created history by becoming the
second Indian, after Geet Sethi, to win the World Pro title at

The 25-year-old Bangalorean had won the title in his
third attempt having lost the quarterfinals in 2007 and 2008.

Five-time winner Geet Sethi, making his 19th appearance at
the event, scored an emphatic 781-397 win over team-mate
Siddharth Parikh before humbling England`s Bem French 1223-186
at the Northern Snooker Centre.

Sethi, aiming his sixth world professional title,
constructed three century breaks (150, 182 and 108) against
Parikh, while in his second match against French, he made two
century breaks including 452 in the last session.

Sethi had failed to advance to the knockout stage in the
previous edition last year.