Miramar (Goa): Rupesh Shah of India went down fighting against Praput Chaithanasukan of Thailand in the clash between two former world champions on day four of the 11th ONGC Asian Billiards Championship at the Clube Tennis De Gaspar Dias Miramar.
It was Rupesh who took the lead by clinching the first game with the aid of a break of 58 but Praput was quick to strike back with a break of 55 to win the second and level scores at 1-1.
Keeping up the pressure, Praput also took the third. Nevertheless, Rupesh produced vintage billiards, especially on top of the table, to crack a century break followed by an equally competent break of 96 to pocket the fourth and fifth games to nose ahead 3-2.
Yet it was the crucial sixth game which actually turned the tide in favour of the Thai.
Playing in a slow, calculated and methodical manner, Praput was able to prevail over Rupesh in the sixth game.
Rupesh did attempt to make the most of the chances that came his way in the deciding seventh game, but having made 59 attempted to go for a rather difficult cross angular red pot into the top pocket instead of the better option of playing it safe.
Not the one to let go of such a chance at a vital stage of the match, Praput displayed nerves of steel in the process of piling point over point in a steady manner for a well compiled unbeaten century break to seal the fate of Rupesh.
On the other table, in an inconsequential match, Pham Hoai Nam of Vietnam gave a creditable account to get past Sasan Lashkari of Iran.
Sasan did have his chances when trailing 1-2 but Pham chipped in useful small breaks to wrest the fourth game and take a vital 3-1 lead.
Sasan did well to pocket the fifth game with a break of 49 but soon lapsed into errors.
Pham made no mistake in securing the sixth with a good in-off play and spot potting from the red spot to complete the tally.