Pankaj Advani believes that his ability to capitalise on his opponent’s errors helped him emerge victorious at the IBSF World billiards (150-up) championship, at Doha (Qatar). Advani, the defending champion, claimed his 17th world title by defeating English stalwart Mike Russell 6-2 in the final.
It was Russell who made a strong start, taking the first frame 155-0. Advani was down 100-128 in the second, when Russell made a costly error. “Russell was unlucky to miss the shot, as the ball kicked. I was able to capitalise on the small lapse and win the frame 150-128. It could have very easily been 2-0 in his favour,” Advani told Sportstar on Monday.
Russell took the third frame 151-92, but Advani roared back and won the next five frames.
The 32-year-old displayed the same killer instinct to get past countryman Rupesh Shah in the semifinal. The best-of-nine frame encounter was on an even keel at 2-2, before Rupesh missed a crucial shot and lost the fifth frame. Advani then shut out his rival with breaks of 151 and 91 in the sixth and seventh frames.
Singapore cueist Peter Gilchrist, another top contender in this 19-man field, lost to Russell in the second semifinal.
“In this format, it is important to build momentum by winning the close frames. Once you get the momentum, you have to go big and not let your opponent back into the match,” Advani said.
There isn’t much time to celebrate. The long-up format of the IBSF world championships has already begun, with Advani racking up two victories in as many group matches. If Advani's fine run continues, another big milestone is around the corner.
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