Chennai: Karnataka state champion I H Manudev scalped former national champion Siddharth Rao of Tamil Nadu in the opening Group-A league match of the India’s richest Rs 5.2 Lakh VIP Matrix All-India invitational snooker tournament here on Saturday.
Thirtyfive-year-old Manudev, a junior national champion in 1995 making a comeback in snooker, was lucky to get the better of Rao after opening the match with a break of 75 in the first frame.
Rao got his rhythm and led 3-2 and was all set to win the next and the match but made a mess of a “blue” allowing Manudev the chance.
Manudev, who qualified to the 32-main draw in the recently held world championships in Hyderabad, took the blue and pink and then both had their chances going awry on the “black” but finally Manudev succeeded to win and level the frames scores 3-3.
Manudev gained supremacy in the decider with small breaks in the initial stages and then cashed-in on the chances to win the match.
“It was pretty close right through and Siddharth’s miss on the blue in the sixth frame helped me out. He played well though he was obviously out of touch,” said a relieved Manudev who next takes on favourite and reigning National champion Pankaj Advani in the next match.
“I last met Pankaj in a match in 1998 during the state ranking tournament and I beat him then. But he has come a long way since those days,” said Manudev, looking ahead to his next encounter slated for Sunday.
In other important league ties, Sridhar, also a qualifier from Andhra, managed to beat Tamil Nadu’s Dilip Kumar 4-3 in a long drawn match, while seasoned veteran, S A Saleem and former national champion Rafath Habib (TN) also recorded victories.