Chopra uncorks timely 100 break to down Khaneja

Pune: Punjab cueist Vivek Chopra notched up a timely century break in the deciding fifth frame to post a 3-2 victory over Rajat Khaneja of Chandigarh in a Group F league tie at the Manisha National Snooker Championship on Wednesday.

Chopra came from behind twice before getting the better of Khaneja the fifth frame, which he cleaned up with an exact 100 break to win it and the tie as well here. Khaneja won the first frame 64-41, while Chopra took the second 73-37.

The Chandigarh cueist found an early break in the third and went on to take it 72-35.

Chopra brought off a crucial break of 74 to take the fourth 81-5 and forced the match into the decider which he lapped up 100 (100)-0).

It was the second win for Chopra, who also became the second player after top seed Aditya Mehta to compile a century break in the tournament. The win improved his chances of advancing from his group along with four-time champion Pankaj Advani, who won his third match on the trot.

But No 2 seed and last year`s runners-up Alok Kumar lost his third league match to Pulkit Thukral of Delhi in five well-contested frames. Alok led 2-1 at one point of time after winning first and third frames. But Thukral shot back and took the fourth 55-6.

In the decider, both cueists played cautiously. But as the table got free of reds, the excitement increased wherein Thukral was able to open up a slender lead before taking the crucial higher value colour balls and the frame 69-57.

The other successful cueists of the day were Kamal Chawla, Sourav Kothari and qualier Brijesh Damani ? all ensuring there places in the 32-man knockout draw.

National billiards champion Advani rallied from 1-2 to put it across Nikhil Ootam of Maharashtra 71-15, 61-71, 15-68, 61-34, 92-5 while Kothari scored two wins, both against Karnataka players - Deepak A and A R Arjun.