Leeds : Pankaj Advani``s hopes of winning the World Professional Billiards title for the second consecutive time went up in smoke after compatriot Dhruv Sitwala registered a hard fought 723-608 win over the reigning champion in the quarterfinals of the event here on Saturday. Advani, who had last year created history by becoming the second Indian, after Geet Sethi, to win the elusive World Pro title, suffered an unexpected defeat at the hands of Sitwala, who compiled three century breaks (118, 109 and 161) in his 32 visits to the table to reign supreme at the green baize.
Advani, on the other hand, failed to score even a single century break during his two hour stay at the table with his highest break accounting for 91. Dhruv played very confidently and with consistency.
He went ahead 360 points when only 30 minutes left in the clock. Advani, known for his strong comeback, tried hard to cover the lead but fall short on a break of 184 and lost by 115 points when clock alarmed and failed to defend his title.
Friday , on the second day of the event, the 25-year-old Bangalorean Advani notched up his third straight victory in Group A after brushing aside the challenge of compatriot Devendra Joshi 818-469 to advance to the last-eight stage at the Northern Snooker Centre. Earlier, in the final group battle to decide the pool winner from Group A, Advani had defeated team-mate Saurav Kothari 965-457 in 21 visits to the table with the help of three century breaks.
In the other quarterfinal of the day, five-time winner Geet Sethi, making his 19th appearance at the event, scored an emphatic 959-445 win over Singapore``s Peter Gilchrist to sail into the semifinals of the event where he is expected to meet Advani``s tormentor Sitwala. Sethi came out with two century breaks including one accounting for 267 in his 35 visits to the table while Gilchrist managed to score none.
Sethi had confirmed his berth for knockouts. With an all-win record in his Group B. Other two Indians in the quarterfinal stage are Saurav Kothari, who will be up against David Causier of England, and Rupesh Shah, pitted against nine-time champion and title favourite England``s Mike Russell.