Pankaj Advani advances to second round, Aditya Mehta loses in Haikou World Open snooker
The recently crowned Indian snooker champion Pankaj Advani was at sea in the first frame, struggling to adjust to the conditions that were contrasting in nature to that of the Indian National Championship conducted in Lucknow last week.
Eight-time world champion Pankaj Advani overcame a stiff challenge before prevailing over World No.25 Xiao Guodong in the first round of the Haikou World Open in China.
The Chinese played in front of a home crowd that was keen to see him come through but were sportingly appreciative of a dynamic display of snooker by the Indian pro in a tight contest held in the Hainan province capital.
The recently crowned Indian snooker champion was at sea in the first frame, struggling to adjust to the conditions that were contrasting in nature to that of the Indian National Championship conducted in Lucknow last week.
Down 1-0, Advani shifted gears and made a 51 break in the second frame to draw parity. The third frame was unusual by nature as it ended in the Indian's favour even though he was trailing by over 20 points.
Guodong made a break of 62. While Advani was fighting back, the Chinese made three consecutive foul-and-misses. According to professional snooker rules, that amounts to a frame being awarded to the opponent. The rare misfortune for the Chinese presented Advani with a 3-1 lead before the former fought back with a 70 to make it 3-2.
Advani clinched the sixth frame and was close to the finish line in the best-of-9 encounter.
However, the resilient Chinese, one frame away from defeat, proved his class and made frame-winning breaks of 61 and 63 respectively in the next two to make the scoreline 4-4 and enforce the decider.
With the shift of momentum, the local favourite was on the brink of a remarkable comeback but Advani had other plans. His reputation to raise his game to the next level when it matters most was upheld yet again as he scored a match-winning 80 break, clearing the table.
After overcoming the second highest ranked Chinese, Advani is likely to face China's number one player Ding Junhui on Wednesday.
The other Indian, Aditya Mehta, however did not make it and lost in the first round to a lesser-ranked player in England's Michael White.
Starting off as the favourite for the match, the Indian faltered and lost the match 3-5.
Results: Pankaj Advani defeated Xiao Guodong 5-4: 7-87, 72 (55)-44, 61-24, 43-66(62), 0-76(70), 67-(56)-51, 19-83(61), 15-85(63), 119(80)-0.
Michael White defeated Aditya Mehta 5-3: 9-77, 78-7, 23-70, 74-49, 65-8, 69-67, 0-91, 60-29.