Pankaj Advani rallies to beat McManus

New Delhi: Ace Indian cueist Pankaj Advani overcame a stiff challenge from Scotland`s Alan McManus to reach the penultimate round of the Shanghai Masters snooker qualifiers at the Doncaster Dome in Sheffield, England.

A best of 9 frames encounter that lasted almost six hours saw the Glaswegian engage in heavy scoring to be a frame away from victory at 3-4.

However Pankaj, the highest ranked Indian at the moment at 73 and the reigning world billiards champion, fought tooth and nail draw parity and enforce the decider.

In the 9th, Pankaj surged ahead with some strong potting, making a crucial 34 break to take the score to 65-7 before his more experienced opponent who is ranked currently at 43 conceded the match.

Pankaj, the lone Indian in the fray, now faces Gloucester`s Michael Wasley in the third round.
In the first round of the qualifying event, Pankaj won another thriller defeating the reigning European champion Robin Hull of Finland 5-4.

The other Indian, Aditya Mehta, ranked number 74, cruised through his first round against world number 105 Hammad Miah winning 5-0. However, he failed to convert his next round match against Welshman Jamie Jones, going down 5-4.

Pankaj Advani (73) beat Alan McManus (43) 5-4: 78-4, 9-70, 66-58, 30-74, 25-74, 60-55, 50-78, 71-64, 65-7.

Aditya Mehta (74) lost to Jamie Jones (42) 4-5: 102-14,81-0,71-8,52-70,15-67,53-65,61-15,13-66, 54-75.