Indian Open: Tough ask for home players

India's leading players Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta is expected to face a stiff challenge from the international stars as the Indian Open gets underway.

Pankaj Advani plays an exhibition game after the inauguration of the Indian Open in Hyderabad.   -  Nagara Gopal

Fresh from his victory in the recent Asian 6-red championship, Pankaj Advani will be keen to show why he’s regarded as one of the finest players in the history when the Indian Open world ranking snooker tournament begins at the HICC-Novotel Hotel here from July 5.

Advani, the world number one in 6-red snooker, is one of the wild card entrants from India in this edition besides Manan Chandra, Pankaj Chawla, Lucky Vatnani, Dilip Kumar and Ishpreet Chadha.

India’s leading snooker player Aditya Mehta, finalist in the inaugural edition of the 2013 Indian Open, will also be a favourite to win the title. Mehta will take on Jimmy Robertson, the quarterfinalist in the last China International championship.

Michael White, who won the tournament’s second edition in Mumbai 2015, has returned to defend his title.

The other big names who are going to feature in this prestigious event include last year’s world champion Stuart Bingham, world number four Shaun Murphy, last year’s runner-up Ricky Walden besides a few youngsters from China.

The 64 qualifiers made it to this event from a field of 128 in the Preston Championship in UK.

Hyderabad’s Lucky Vatnani reminded that the event features the best of the world and that one has to be exceptionally brilliant to win.

“The kind of standard from these world class players should be amazing. Take my case. I am up against UK Championship semifinalist David Grace. It is going to be extremely tough for the Indians no doubt as they have to sustain a very high standards right through,” said Vatnani.

“Pankaj and Aditya are capable of beating anyone on their day given their amazing skills and experience,” he added.

Two-time national champion Manan Chandra will met the experienced Andrew Higginson, the 2011 Players Tour Champion.

“I hope this event will be even more successful than the other two editions that were held in Delhi and Mumbai,” Capt P.V.K.Mohan, president of Billiards and Snooker Federation remarked.

“We are determined to have Hyderabad Open on the lines of Shanghai Open given the kind of support we are getting from the Telangana State Government.”

The championship will have four sessions daily on four match tables imported from China and will be played on a knock-out basis. All matches till the semifinals are to be best-of-seven frames and the final would be played over nine frames.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :