Alok, Rupesh advance to Asian Billiards semifinals

Former champion Alok Kumar confirmed medal for India by entering the semifinals of the 12th ONGC Asian Billiards championship today.

After finishing as third seed in the round-robin stage, Alok met compatriot and sixth seed B Bhaskar in the quarterfinals. Bhaskar cracked with a break of 70 points to win the first game. Alok immediately countered and set the match on level 1-all by winning the next game.

In the third game, Alok missed a dicey cannon on 79 points, and Bhaskar scored the remaining 58 points to take a 2-1 lead.

File picture of Alok Kumar. AFP

File picture of Alok Kumar. AFP

After that Alok produced three consecutive breaks of 96, 74 and 88 points in next three games to knock out Bhaskar and confirm his berth in medal round.

In the semifinal, Alok will play against Thailand's Praput Chaithanasukan, who outplayed K Venkatesham of India in straight set of games 4-Nil.

The other semifinal will be played between reigning world champion Rupesh Shah of India and Thawat Sujaritthurakarn of Thailand. Despite leading 3-2 Rupesh was under the threat of losing the match against Asian Games silver medallist Nay Thway Oo.

After winning the sixth game, Nay Thway Oo elevated the score to 87-20 in decider. There was nothing much left in the match but Nay Thway unexpectedly played a loose centre pocket in-off and missed to give one last chance to Rupesh.

Rupesh was 80 points behind and started afresh like a champion and scored a break of 80 to knock out Nay Thway Oo.

In the 14th Asian Under-21 Snooker Championship, the round-robin stage ended today with 16 players from four groups qualifying for the pre-quarterfinals. These included three Indian players.

PTI

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