Merchant, Mehta enter quarter-finals at snooker meet

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Mumbai, Jan 13 (PTI) Guangzhou Asian Games team silvermedal winner cueist Yasin Merchant got past India No 2 LuckyVatnani to seal his place in the quarter-finals of the EktaWorld Shyam Shroff Memorial All India Open Invitation snookertournament here today.

The Mumbai-based former Asian champion rallied afterdropping the opening two fames to beat his Hyderabad-basedrival 4-2 for his fourth successive win in Group A at the KharGymkhana.

Last year''s runner-up Aditya Mehta (Indian Oil), whowas part of the silver medal winning team in the Asiad inNovember, also qualified from Group C.

But defending champion Kamal Chawla of Railwayscrashed out of the competition after going down 3-4 to Group Btopper and Railway compatriot Faisal Khan who won all hismatches in the group.

Veteran cueist Merchant, a product of the gymkhana, madethe most of home conditions to outsmart Vatnani, who advancedafter beating qualifier Deepak Khubchandani to finish secondin the group.

Earlier, he overcame Sourav Kothari of ONGC by a similarmargin, again after trailing 0-2. A sparkling break of anunfinished 101 -- the highest in the competition -- by theveteran was the highlight of the match.

Devendra Joshi of Bharat Petroleum and Asian Games8-ball bronze medallist Alok Kumar of ONGC made surprise exitsafter losing two ties each in Group D.

I H Manudev of Karnataka and seasoned Rafath Habib ofRailways qualified from the group. (More) PTI SSR RSY CM

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