Vatnani enters Shyam Shroff memorial snooker quarter-finals

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Mumbai, Mar 7 (UNI) Lucky Vatnani of Hyderabad fashioned his third win to scrape into the knock out quarters in the Khar Gymkhana-Shyam Shroff Memorial Open Invitation Snooker Tournament at the Khar Gymkhana here today.

On another action-packed day of tight contests, Vatnani beat Hasan Badami of Mumbai 11-67, 59-26, 95-1, 54-8 in the best-of-five frames contest to finish second in Group 'C'.

The feature of Vatnani's win was a break of 95 in the third frame that ended prematurely after he missed the black while on course for a 102.

Vatnani's win served to edge out India No. 2 Manan Chandra, who earlier crashed to his second loss while facing group topper Yasin Merchant 51-39, 76-29, 11-73(73), 56(40)-63(63), 60-2 in a thriller.

Crashing out of a competition in Mumbai for the first time in three years, Chandra went down fighting against twice Asian champion Merchant, as he ignored a 0-2 deficit to storm back into the match with breaks of 73 in the third and 63 in the crucial fourth that forced the decider.

Alok Kumar of Punjab booked his berth in the quarter-finals after his third straight win in Group 'D', while shunting out Mumbai's Sarang Shroff with a 79-38, 101-1, 68-28 win.

Rupesh Shah of Gujarat registered his second win in Group 'B' to keep his hopes alive when he overcame Ashok Shandilya of Railways 24-63, 77-18, 61-38, 38-59, 66-58 in an absorbing tie.

After clinching the fourth frame to force the decider Shandilya failed to capitalise on a slender 13-point lead in the fifth and final frame. Shandilya missed an easy pink in the centre pocket that allowed Shah to complete the formality and seal the issue.

Results: Group A: Shravan Mohta (Indian Oil) bt Devendra Joshi (PSPB) 63-34, 69-36, 49-36; Pankaj (PSPB) bt Devendra Joshi (PSPB) 13-68(46), 82(82)-31, 90(53)-1, 84(47)-32.

Group B: Rupesh Shah (Gujarat) bt Ashok Shandilya (Rlys) 24-63, 77-18, 61-38, 38-59, 66-58; Aditya Mehta (Mumbai) bt Ashok Shandilya 9-55, 65-13, 108(48)-1, 54(54)-13; Faizal Khan (Rlys) bt Nikhil Ootam (Mumbai) 25-65, 69-8, 78-48, 54-15.

Group C: Manan Chandra (PSPB) bt Rafath Habib (Rlys) 63-16, 65-53, 67-4; Lucky Vatnani (Hyderabad) bt Hasan Badami (Mumbai) 11-67, 59-26, 95(95)-1, 54-8; Yasin Merchant (Mumbai) bt Manan Chandra (PSPB) 51-39, 76(61)-29, 11-73(73), 56(40)-63(63), 60-24.

Group D: Sarang Shroff (Mumbai) bt Sourav Kothari (PSPB) 54-18, 78(52)-17, 37-77, 30-62, 59-9; Alok Kumar (Punjab) bt Marzdi Kalyaniwala (Mumbai) 81(50)-24, 86(61)-1, 43-67(47), 44-71, 56-46; Alok Kumar bt Sarang Shroff 79-38, 101(68)-1, 68-28.

UNI GS RN AB HS2046

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