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Smooth sailing for Advani, Merchant on opening day

Updated: Nov 28, 2011, 21:50 PM IST

Bangalore: It was a good day for top Indian cueists Pankaj Advani and Yasin Merchant with both winning their respective round-robin matches on the opening day of the IBSF World Snooker Championship that began on Monday.

While seven-time world champion Advani beat Japan`s Atshutoshi Inoue and Elsheribiny of Egypt, Yasin Merchant, who is playing his last tournament, began his campaign in style by defeating Libya`s Khaled Elbakosh and Bairaq Al-Urfy of Sweden.

In the third session of the championship, Advani thrashed Elsheribiny 4-0, winning the intital frame 85-8.

The 26-year-old local challenger gave ample proof of his talent as he romped home against Elsheribiny in the Group D tie, winning the following frames 80-26 105-35 and 69-62.

Earlier, in the first session of the day, Advani prevailed 4-0 over Japan`s Atshutoshi Inoue.

The champion cueist did not allow his Japanese opponent to take advantage over him as he won all four frames 71-0 89-10 63-4 76-21 to seal the match.

Advani said he was satisfied with his performance. "I am playing well, but the new tables are not free-flowing. It will take two to three days to improve," he said.

Advani had some good words for Polish cueist Marcin Nitschke, saying the opponent in his group looked competent.

Matching Advani`s good start, veteran Merchant showed he has lost none of his edge in nothcing up two wins on day one.

High on confidence after defeating Elbakosh in first session of the day, Merchant next beat Al-Urfy in four straight frames in their Group B encounter.

The two-time Asian Snooker champion overcame his Swedish opponent 67-51 76-0 67-60 83-0 after competitive first and third frames.

Earlier in the day, Merchant overwhelmed Elbakosh in the first session in a best of seven-frame, winning the Group B tie 81-30 92-5 107-19 85-14.

Indian cueist Alok Kumar encountered mixed fortunes on the opening day as he first trounced Mongolian Sergelen Batdelger 4-1 in a Group E match, but was overwhelmed by Lee Walker of Wales in the third session.
Kumar lost 0-4 to Walker with the final score reading 88-33 64-54 75-61 74-31 against him.

In another match, Indian cueist Kamal Chawla registered a four-frame win over Ryan Somaratna of Sri Lanka. He comfortably won all four frames 80-27 70-5 109-0 and 72-41.

It was a disappointing day for reigning national junior snooker champion, Lalrina Renthlei, who went down fighting 2-4 to Bemhard Bernhardsson of Iceland in the Group F encounter.

After conceding the first two frames 54-55 and 40-68, Lalrina bounced back to win the third and fourth 71-47 64-60 but that did not prove enough as the Icelander won the last two frames 72-27 69-56.

Former champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh of Thailand also registered two wins, defeating Misja Van Vonderen of The Netherlands and USA`s Ahmed Aly Elsayed respectively in four straight frames.

Thepchaiya defeated Vonderen 76-35 106-31 71-42 66-13 and Elsayed 67-32 86-21 73-46 85-35.

In the second session of the day, Hossein Vafaei of Iran thrashed 2003 World Championship runner-up Saleh Mohammed (Iran) 4-0 in straight frames.

Vafaei put himself in the driver`s seat after he smashed two breaks of 56 and 78 in first two frames. Mohammed got a chance in fourth frame scoring 42 but it was not enough, as Vafaei`s score of 75 sealed the issue.

Mohammad Shehab of UAE also registered a facile win, defeating Ali Jaafer of France 4-1. Jaafer managed to stand up to Shehab in the second frame, taking it 68-59. In the fourth frame, Shehab made a break of 112 which was the highest for the day.

Vinnie Calabrese from Australia went down 2-4 against Michael Wild of England. Wild took an initial lead of 3 frames before Calabrese bounced back winning the next two frames to narrow the lead to 2-3.

However, Wild sealed the match in the sixth frame by taking it 75-40.

In the first session, Ireland`s Rodney Goggin registered an emphatic 4-0 win against Andrey Vill from Russia. Other players who won 4-0 in first session were Kevin Van Hove from Belgium, Anuj Uppal (India) and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (Thailand).

The first century break of the championship came from Marcin Nitschke (Poland), who produced 101 in the third frame while playing against Yaser Elsherbiny (Egypt).

Nitschke, however, lost 3-4 in the decider frame. Elsherbiny managed to score a break of 61 in the fifth frame.