World Snooker: Pankaj Advani, Kamal Chawla enter knockouts

Bengaluru, Nov 22: Ace Indian cueist Pankaj Advani and compatriot Kamal Chawla today stormed into the Seaways IBSF World Snooker Championship knockout stage, continuing their unbeaten streak in the event here today.

The Indian women cueists also added to the Indian celebrations when Chitra Magimairajan and young Amee Kamani also qualified for the knockouts. Manan Chandra, one of the most talented cueists in the country, scripted his third consecutive win to inch closer to qualify in the next stage.

Pankaj Advani

Title favourite Advani made his way through by fighting a hard and long battle to oust compatriot Luky Vatnani 4-2, while Chawla overwhelmed New Zealand's Paul Bason 4-0 in their fourth-round matches. In the first frame, Vatnani was ahead of Advani 1-0 and 2-1 with a break of 53, which had a seemingly struggling Advani on the ropes with some excellent safety play.

However, Advani fought his way back with scores of 57, 52 and 68 between fourth to sixth frames to pocket the match. "I am happy to come through this match. Lucky played good safety game, but I couldn't adjust to the conditions at the start. However, I thought I played well in the latter part of the match," Advani, who has won 12 world titles, said after the match.

City-based veteran Magimairajan beat compatriot Meenal Thakur 3-1 for her fourth win in Group D, while 22-year-old Kamani from Mumbai defeated Iran's Akram Mohammadi Amini 3-0. With top four players from each of the six groups to qualify for the knockout stage, both Magimairajan and Kamani were assured of their slots in the round of 24.

Chandra posted a unblemished 4-0 win over Kiwi veteran Paul Bason, which helped him to warm up for the big matches ahead in the championship. The 33-year old Delhi-based Chandra, whose performances since winning the 2006 National title have done little justice to his talent, did as he pleased against Bason.

"I did play a few careless shots today, but otherwise, I am happy for my third win. I decided to play an open game and went for the breaks. I now have some tough matches ahead in the group and I hope to do well," said Chandra, whose best break against Bason was an 82 in the third frame.

Asian champion Thor Chuan Leong of Malaysia, who was surprised 1-4 by Egypt's Mohamed Khairy earlier in the day, put his campaign back on track defeating Belgian Jurian Heusdens 4-2 in a late night match. For women, it was yet again a clinical performance from Ng On Yee beating Anastasia (Russia) 3-0.


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