Pune: Asian runner up and top seed Aditya Mehta was given a fright by feisty opponent Shahbaaz Khan before he advanced into the final of the Manisha National Snooker Championships with a 5-4 victory at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana on Friday.
Defending champion Mehta, from Mumbai, led 4-0 and appeared on way to a comprehensive win before his fellow- Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) cueist Shahbaaz made a great rally to level draw level only to lose the deciding ninth frame in a rip-roaring semi final contest.
Mehta defeated Shahbaaz, who had knocked out four-time winner Pankaj Advani in the pre quarters on Thursday, 71-43, 75 (68)-1, 105 (56,49)-7, 70-20, 30-69, 28-61, 33-71, 38-67, 86 (66)-1.
Mehta will clash with Kamal Chawla, also of PSPB, in the final tomorrow. The latter got the better of Brijesh Damani of West Bengal 5-2 (70-7, 19-64, 35-70, 67-32, 90-15, 103(67)-0, 70(51)-45) in the other semi final.
India no. 1 Mehta, of PSPB, had swamped Mumbai-based Railways rival Siddharth Parikh 5-0 (84-1, 67-34, 85 (82)-0, 80 (55)-7, 76 (40)-23) in a one-sided quarter final held in the morning.
Chawla had knocked out last year`s runner-up Alok Kumar yesterday and survived a scare against Lucky Vatnani of Andhra Pradesh on his way to the semis.
Chawla won the pre-quarter final tie against Kumar, another PSPB cueist, who was runner-up in the Chennai nationals, 4-3 and then was given a tough time by Vatnani before pulling up his socks for a 5-3 victory in the quarters.