Advani, Haria progress to finals

Pankaj Advani and Dhvaj Haria secured dominant semi-final victories and will now face off in the final.

Pankaj Advani was at his best against his PSPB compatriot, Rupesh Shah.   -  Sudhakara Jain

Pankaj Advani will face Dhvaj Haria in the Senior National men’s billiards final, at KSBA here. Advani, the defending champion, routed two-time world champion Rupesh Shah (PSPB) 151-31, 150-11, 151-12,
150-71. Advani racked up a century break in each frame to dismiss his opponent from sight.

Advani's mastery over the table came to the fore in the second frame, when he recovered splendidly from a tricky position. With his opponent’s cue ball out of position, Advani was forced to make a series of red pots to stay alive. Displaying fine cue ball control, he worked his way up the table and finally brought his opponent’s cue ball into play. Once he had all three balls at his disposal, there was no stopping him. The multiple-time world champion returned a 105-break to take a 2-0 lead. PSPB compatriot Rupesh found no way back into the contest.

Read: Advani prevails, Haria to make his second SF appearance

Haria, meanwhile, continued his dream run. The young southpaw took out seasoned campaigner B. Bhaskar to book his maiden National billiards final spot. For Bhaskar - a six-time national finalist - the wait for a maiden title continues.

Haria cruised to a 3-0 advantage, before letting one slip. A slow, tight fifth frame tested the players’ patience, and it was Haria who came out on top. “I made a couple of mistakes today. I can’t afford to make any mistakes against Pankaj on Sunday,” Haria, 23, said.

The results (semifinals):

Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Rupesh Shah (PSPB) 151-31, 150-11, 151-12,
150-71; Dhvaj Haria (PSPB) bt B. Bhaskar (Kar) 151-137, 150-98,
150-52, 118-151, 151-132.