Rupesh Shah beats Ootam in thriller

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Mumbai, Mar 5 (UNI) Trailing 1-2, Rupesh Shah of Gujarat rallied to a thrilling 3-2 win over Nikhil Ootam of Mumbai, in the Khar Gymkhana-Shyam Shroff Memorial Open Invitation Snooker Tournament at Khar Gymkhana here today.

Ootam squandered a crucial 2-1 lead after dropping the opening frame and recovering brilliantly to rifle in a significant break of 79 in the third frame that left Shah bewildered.

But Ootam lost his way in the fourth frame as he struggled to maintain his touch that kept Shah in check until then. Shah seized the opportunity and ignored the deficit to romp to an absorbing 54-39, 45-82, 5-94, 61-19, 73-30 win in Group B.

Shah registered his second win from as many ties, while Ootam, who lost his opener to Ashok Shandilya, crashed to his second defeat.

India's number five Alok Kumar of Punjab announced his arrival with the first century break of the competition, as he raced to an impressive 109-23, 60-25, 64-28 win over Mumbai lad Rishabh Pandya in Group D.

Kumar, a strong contender for the title, kicked off his campaign with a brilliant unfinished break of 109 in the opening frame and set the ball rolling for more big breaks in the remainder of the day.

India's number two Aditya Mehta of Mumbai missed a century break by three points, his 97 ending prematurely in the third frame after missing the pink, as he overcame Faizal Khan of Railways, who crashed to his second loss, 59-40, 76-32, 98-2 in Group B.

Sourav Kothari of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board beat Mumbai's fancied Marzdi Kalyaniwala 71-14, 78-56, 65-71, 59-28 in an eventful Group D encounter.

Playing their opening tie, Kothari surprised Kalyaniwala with a 2-0 lead but dropped the third frame in dramatic fashion even after firing a break of 65 while on course for a century. The break ended prematurely after Kothari bungled on a red.

It allowed Kalyaniwala an immediate visit that yielded a crucial break of 44 and he quickly followed it with a significant 27 that helped him snatch the frame and keep his hopes alive.

But Kothari sealed the issue 71-14, 78-56, 65-71, 59-28 after clinching the fourth frame in the best-of-five frames contest.

In contrast, India's number one Pankaj Advani raced to his second win in as many ties with a fluent 80-51, 78-15, 99-0 win over Kamal Chawla of Railways in Group A.

In the process, Advani also missed a century break in the third frame that ended at 98, after failing to pot a difficult last red.

Results: Group A: Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Neeraj Kumar (Bihar) 91(40)-1, 85(49)-24, 74-27; Devendra Joshi (PSPB) bt Kamal Chawla (Rlys) 75-22, 67-50, 1-63, 55-22; Pankaj Advani bt Kamal Chawla 80-51, 78-15, 99(98)-0, Neeraj Kumar bt Shravan Mohta (Nagpur) 20-60, 65-51, 71-60, 20-71(53), 78-2.

Group B: Rupesh Shah (Guj) bt Faizal Khan (Rlys) 76(51)-7, 71-24, 65-23; Aditya Mehta (Mumbai) bt Faizal Khan 59-40, 76(56)-32, 98(97)-2; Rupesh Shah bt Nikhil Ootam (Mumbai) 54-39, 45-82, 5-94(79), 61-19, 73-30.

Group C: Yasin Merchant (Mumbai) bt bt Rafath Habib (Rlys) 70-49, 78-44, 67-1.

Group D: Sourav Kothari (PSPB) bt Marzdi Kalyaniwala (Mumbai) 71-14, 78-56, 65(65)-71(44,27), 59-28; Alok Kumar (Punjab) bt Rishabh Pandya (Mumbai) 109(109)-23, 60-25, 64-28.

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