Mandalay (Myanmar), Sept 15 : India’s leading cueist Pankaj Advani overcame England’s Mike Russell 5-2 in the semifinals of the IBSF World Billiards Championship in Mandalay, Myanmar.
In a clash of the titans, the might of multiple time world champion, Russell, wasn’t enough to stop India’s golden boy. The Brit had a ditto performance last year finishing with a bronze again. However, last time the eventual runner-up and this year’s finalist again, Nay Thway Oo of Myanmar stopped Russell in his tracks.
Pankaj, vying for his 22nd world title, will play in a repeat of last year’s final against local hero Oo. The Myanmar silver medalist from last year will have another crack at his maiden world championship against Pankaj.
The Indian ace Pankaj scored three back-to-back centuries but managed to convert only two of those frames as Russell took advantage of Pankaj’s error on 142 and made a 150. The match was evenly poised at two frames a piece and could’ve gone either way.
But Pankaj appeared to be on a mission as he made breaks of 63 and 123 in the last three frames to race to a 5-2 victory. When asked about his crucial semifinal performance, Pankaj said, “I’m really pleased to enter the final again a year later. Mike played well so I knew I had to bring more firepower to the match to give myself a chance to defend my title. This feels like deja vu playing Oo again, that too in the final and in Myanmar two years in a row. Let’s hope the outcome is the same too!”
In the other half of the draw, Nay Thway Oo overcame India’s Sourav Kothari 5-3. After taking a 3-1 lead, Kothari made a spirited comeback to level the match 3-3. However, the Myanmar star had other plans. He clinched the final two frames by firing in an unfinished 150 break followed by a 130 break to seal his spot in the final and also Kothari’s fate.
Pankaj Advani (India) defeated Mike Russell (England) 5-2
150(114)-117(59), 142(142)-150(150), 152(118)-122(122), 45-151(74), 152(63)-142(85), 151(123)-96(66), 151-61
Nay Thway Oo (Myanmar) beat Sourav Kothari (India) 5-3
151(65)-125, 151(93)-95(93), 21-152(152), 150(122)-77(68), 79(72)-151(83), 110(103)-150, 150(150)-0, 152(130)-0.