New Delhi: Former National 9-Ball Pool Champion, Sandeep Gulati and veteran Dharminder Lilly on Sunday qualified for the RKG Snooker Masters 2013, India`s biggest Pro-Am Snooker tournament, after winning their respective quarterfinal matches in the North Zone championship, here.
The 2010 National 8-Ball Pool champion, Sumit Talwar also qualified for the Snooker Masters from the North Zone after registering a hard-fought victory against the 2011 IBSF World Billiards Championship (Point Format) semifinalist, Sourav Kothari 4-3 at the Megapool Snooker Academy in Dwarka.
The trio will be joined by the winner between Chennai`s Rafath Habib and Punjab`s Manjot Singh, who play their quarterfinal match later in the evening today.
In the semifinal matches tomorrow to be followed by the summit clash, the results will decide the Ranking Order of the players which will be taken into account while preparing the draws for the May 6 to 13 championship in Mumbai.
The four players from the South Zone had already been decided for the Snooker Masters and the North Zone tournament will give way to the East and West Zone qualifiers to be played later this month.
Eight-time world champion Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta will participate in the tournament. They will be joined by 16 qualifiers from across four venues in India -- Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Pune. The prize money is the biggest offered in India with the winner`s purse being Rs 500,000 lakh.
In today`s first quarterfinal between Gulati and Nitesh Madan, the former was approaching towards a comfortable win just when Madan pulled out all the stops to secure the third frame with a fine break of 68.
Both the Delhi cueists were engaged in an interesting tussle as they battled hard to outplay each other in the fourth frame.
Gulati put on display some fine potting skills in the end to win the fourth frame and then went on to secure the tie with the construction of 60-plus break to seal the issue in his favour 4-1.
The second quarterfinal saw another interesting battle between Punjab`s Lilly and Haryana`s Parveen Rathi.
Lilly was two-up in the tie which also saw him constructing a break of 67 in the second frame. However, Rathi made a splendid comeback in the third frame to reduce the margin to 1-2.
Lilly made quick amends to his game in the next frame and won it 62-51 to surge ahead. In the next, he potted the ball all around the table skillfully to emerge victorious 4-1.
In the third quarterfinal, Kolkata`s Kothari was stunned by Chandigarh`s Talwar who took the match to the decider.
Kothari won the first frame with relative ease but Talwar, 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games quarter-finalist, put him under immense pressure by securing the next two frames.
Down 1-2, Kothari showed good fighting skills to draw parity in the best-of-seven frame last-eight match.
Talwar again made inroads into the rival`s citadel and won the fifth frame 62-04 but the Kolkata-cueist was not ready to cede the possession.
Kothari took the game to the decider in his bid to qualify for the Mumbai finale but it was not the case to be as Talwar held his nerve to win the tie on black ball.
Sundeep Gulati (DL) beat Nitesh Madan (DL): 4-1 (73-23, 56-16, 42-68, 73-43, 63-10).
Dharminder Lilly (PB) beat Parveen Rathi (HR): 4-1 (66-42, 91(67)-00, 17-72, 62-51, 70-22).
Sumit Talwar (CH) beat Sourav Kothari (PSPB): 4-3 (30-74, 75-45, 75-42, 66-73, 62-04, 45-56, 55-52).