Mumbai, Mar 6 (UNI) Title contenders Pankaj Advani and Yasin Merchant fashioned contrasting wins to book their berths in the knock out quarter-finals of the Khar Gymkhana-Shyam Shroff Memorial Open Invitation Snooker Tournament here at the Khar Gymkhana today.
On an absorbing day of close encounters that went down to the wire, India number one Pankaj Advani of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board survived a strong challenge before registering a thrilling 59-36, 67-54, 34-61, 23-59, 76-31 win over a determined Shravan Mohta of Nagpur in Group 'A'.
Trailing 0-2 after Advani lived up to his reputation and snatched the opening two frames, an uninhibited Mohta came right back into the match to clinch the third and fourth frames and force the decider in the best-of-five frames contest.
Mohta's brilliant comeback managed to put Advani under pressure as they went into the fifth and final frame. But Advani's experience swung the frame and tie in his favour as he held on to small but, significant leads to seal the issue in his third tie.
Favourite from Group 'C', Yasin Merchant also surged to his third straight win from as many ties as he rallied to a pulsating 65-14, 24-67, 1-67, 54-41, 65-17 win over the dangerous Lucky Vatnani of Hyderabad.
Vatnani, who won his opener against Rafath Habib of Railways, crashed to his second defeat in three ties as he gave India number three Manan Chandra a scare.
In another tight contest, Vatnani rallied from a 1-2 deficit to force the decider against Chandra before going down 40-63, 70-5, 95(61)-0, 16-100, 68-39, his brilliance showing in the fourth frame.
Sourav Kothari of PSPB fashioned his second win in as many ties as he struggled past Rishabh Pandya of Mumbai 61-28, 21-61, 69-52, 59(41)-62(50unf), 62(48)-30 in a Group 'D' thriller.
Results: Group A- Neeraj Kumar (Bihar) bt Kamal Chawla (Rlys) 15-60, 32-61, 66-42, 84-40, 55-46; Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Shravan Mohta (Nagpur) 59-36, 67-54, 34-61, 23-59, 76-31.
Group B: Faizal Khan (Rlys) bt Ashok Shandilya (Rlys) 65-50, 72-63, 13-67, 60-28; Aditya Mehta (Mumbai) bt Nikhil Ootam (Mumbai) 65-2, 74(73)-8, 42-66, 78(64)-12.
Group C: Yasin Merchant (Mumbai) bt Lucky Vatnani (Hyderabad) 65-14, 24-67, 1-67, 54-41, 65-17; Rafath Habib (Rlys) bt Hasan Badami (Mumbai) 60-17, 62-42, 58-50; Manan Chandra (PSPB) bt Hasan Badami 67-27, 83(66)-33, 51-55, 89-1; Manan Chandra bt Lucky Vatnani 40-63, 70-5, 95(61)-0, 16-100, 68-39.
Group D: Marzdi Kalyaniwala (Mumbai) bt Sarang Shroff (Mumbai) 101-5, 39-70, 66-42, 64-28; Sourav Kothari (PSPB) bt Rishabh Pandya (Mumbai) 61-28, 21-61, 69-52, 59(41)-62(50unf), 62(48)-30.
UNI GS NM RKM AS2048