Hyderabad, Nov 22 (Inditop.com) Kamal Chawla, the 30-year-old from Bhopal, emerged India’s unlikeliest hero as he qualified for the quarter-finals in the ONGC-IBSF World Snooker championship here Sunday that witnessed the ouster of Pankaj Advani along with other home hopes Manan Chandra and Aditya Mehta besides Yasin Merchant.
Chawla overcame Anthony Barbin of Cyprus who had broken the hearts of home fans by eliminating Advani in the round of 32 Sunday morning. It was a very polished performance by Chawla who has been in the top eight in the country but never really in the spotlight. He demolished Barbin in style with a 5-2 margin marked by a brilliant 78 clearance in the final frame.
Four tables away, Merchant, who in the morning had knocked out top seed and compatriot Alok Kumar 5-1, looked a spent force against Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo, losing 1-5.
The 32-year-old Brazilian, playing his first tournament on a full size table after shifting to Germany to pursue his snooker interest and nicknamed “the Tiger”, sank his teeth into the match at the first opportunity before finishing off Merchant, who just did not have it in him to put up a fight.
Earlier, the unheralded 30-year-old Greek Cypriot Brabin dealt Indian hopes a big blow when he knocked out national champion Advani 5-3 en route to the pre-quarter-finals.
Playing fluently and to his strength, Brabin, an advertising executive from Cyprus, had Advani under pressure from the start when he took the first frame in which he trailed by 59 points. Brabin went on to take a 4-1 advantage before Advani reduced the leeway to 3-4. However, Brabin effectively sealed the match with a 54 break in the eighth to eliminate the India No.1.
Advani, the 24-year old from Bangalore, better known for his billiards achievements that include six World titles apart from one in snooker, was on tenter-hooks almost right through the match, missing sitters and with the run of the green also not favouring him, the defeat did not come as a huge surprise.
“You must give all credit to Brabin and he deserved to win. I have no excuses. Yes, it is disappointing, but I failed to finish off frames that I should have won, especially the first and fifth. Had it been 3-3, or even 4-4, then the pressure would have been on him. I missed crucial balls and was not striking well today. When you are not destined to win, nothing goes right for you,” said Advani.
Joining Advani on the sidelines were Manan Chandra, who went down 3-5 to Anthony McGill of Scotland and Aditya Mehta who lost 3-5 to Gavin Pantall of Wales.
MEN (pre-quarter-finals): Kamal Chawla (India) bt Anthony Barbin (Cyprus) 5-2; Igor Figueiredo (Brazil) bt Yasin Merchant (India) 5-1; Yu Delu (China) bt Supoj Saenla (Thailand) 5-1; Phillip Williams (England) bt Mohd Al Joaker (UAE) 5-0; Yuttapop Pakpoj (Thailand) bt Habib Subah Habib (Bahrain) 5-0; Anthony Burden (England) bt Gavin Pantall (Wales) 5-2.
Round of 32: Yasin Merchant (India) bt Alok Kumar (India) 5-1; Anthony Brabin (Cyprus) bt Pankaj Advani (India) 5-3; Lucky Vatnani (India) bt Girish Rajashekar (India) 5-2; Gavin Pantall (Wales) bt Aditya Mehta (India) 5-3; Habib Subah Habib (Bahrain) bt Mario Fernandez (Ireland) 5-1; Alfie Burden (England) bt Nader Khan Sultani (Afthanistan) 5-3; Supoj Saenia (Thailand) bt Tian Pengfei (China) 5-4; Yu Delu (China) bt Lai Chee Wei (Malaysia) 5-0; Igor Figueiredo (Brazil) bt Patrick Einsle (Germany) 5-2; Yuttapop Pakpoj (Thailand) bt IH Manudev (India) 5-0; Kamal Chawla (India) bt Alex Borg (Malta) 5-4; Philip Williams (England) bt Muhammad Sajjad (Pakistan) 5-2; Mohd Al Joaker (UAE) bt James Mifsud (Australia) 5-4; Anthony McGill (Scotland) bt Manan Chandra (India) 5-3; Ang Boon Chin (Singapore) bt David Craggs (England) 5-4; Lin Tang Ho (Hong Kong-China) bt Thor Chuan Leong (Malaysia) 5-2.
MASTERS (quarter-finals): Simon Zammit (Malta) bt Noppadon Noppachom (Thailand) 4-1; Dene O’Kane (New Zealand) bt Glen Wilkinson (Australia) 4-1; Darren Morgan (Wales) bt Mark Rowing (England) 4-3.
(pre-quarter-finals): Darren Morgan (Wales) bt K Ranjan (India) 4-0; Simon Zammit (Malta) bt Devendra Joshi (India) 4-0; Noppadon Noppachom (Thailand) bt BV Srinivasa Murthy (India) 4-0; Mark Rowing (England) bt Munier Cassim (South Africa) 4-3.