Heartbreak for Sitwala, loses to Russell in World Pro final

Leeds: Indian billiards player Dhruv Sitwala`s hopes of winning his maiden World Professional title came crashing down today after he lost his summit clash to nine-time champion Mike Russell of Qatar at the Northern Snooker Centre.

Sitwala, who made a surprise entry into the final by defeating two compatriots -- last year`s winner Pankaj Advani in quarters and Geet Sethi by one point in semifinal, played well throughout the final and constructed four century breaks against nine-time professional champion, including one accounting for 281 to win 1204-1738.

On the other hand, green baize veteran Russell finally got back his crown which he lost last year to Advani, who had become the second Indian after Sethi to win the elusive title.

Sitwala, the 2007 IBSF World Billiards runner-up, played confidently and with consistency against his much fancied rival and scored breaks of 65, 107, 122, 97, 103, 90, 281 in his 45 visits to the table.

Russell, gunning for his 10th Pro title, came out with five century breaks against Sitwala, including one accounting for 450.

Russell`s prolific break building and his ability to uncork big breaks were on display once again in the final against the Mumbaikar, who showed great promise and fluency in his shot selections during the five-day-long tournament.

In the five-hour final of the Time format, Russell cracked breaks of 198, 115, 174 and 92 in the first session while in the second, he came out with breaks of 450, 95, 184 and 94.

Sitwala, on the other, managed to score 65, 107, 122 and 97 in the first session and 103, 90 and 281 in the second half of the game.

Russell had won with authoritative dominance against England`s David Causier in the semifinal, recording breaks of 109, 305, 295, 101 and 371 while Sitwala edged past Sethi, winning by a solitary point.

Sitwala had lost his first match of the championship to compatriot Ashok Shandilya but managed to win all other group matches.

Russell, on the other, continued his form from two amateur world titles he won two months back and won his 10th professional title. He lost one match in league stage against England`s Robert Marshall.