Pankaj Advani wins entertaining final to clinch National 6-Red title

The contest was a see-saw battle until the match-turning seventh frame.

Pankaj Advani (left) and Amee Kamani with their winner’s trophies on Saturday.   -  V. Ganesan

The final of the National 6-Red snooker championship here on Saturday was a see-saw battle. At least till the seventh frame. Kamal Chawla had run Advani close - three frames each - and had his opponent in a spot of bother down 37 points. But the tide turned thereafter.

“Yes that was the turning point, Advani said. “I was 37 points down and needed a snooker, potted the red and got the black and then I gave him a tight snooker behind the blue and a sort of a clever shot when I took the pink out, because I needed the pink as well for the clearance and then he faltered and gave me a chance with the yellow, and I think that clearance made the difference, and once you go 4-3 up rather than 3-4 down the body language changes.”

Friday report: Chawla, Advani in semis

Once Advani got into his rhythm, he accelerated and was all finesse and grace as he compiled breaks of 70, 41 and 35 to close out the best-of-13 frames match at 7-3.

Chawla had started off well with a stupendous break of 65, clearing the table like someone foraging for food in the refrigerator, leaving nothing for Advani to do, but watch. Advani returned the favour in the very next frame. Both displayed fine skills, be it with potting or safety play, and kept pace with each other till the seventh frame, the turning point.

‘Could’ve done better’

About the missed opportunity Chawla said, “Both of us got chances and he capitalised on them the most. Safety play is very important against Pankaj, and I could’ve done better,” he added. He did give his best shot, but Advani was better.

“It feels great to end the year on a high,” Advani said. “Kamal is a great player, and it was not easy to best him here in the finals,” he added.

Read - Advani: 'I like to play the beautiful game'

This is Advani’s 30th National title. He said, “After a stage numbers don’t matter. The idea is to improve and realise your potential.” That should sound ominous for his rivals.

In the women’s category Amee Kamani defended her title rather easily. In the final, she sailed past Vidya Pillai 4-1. After losing the first frame, Amee came out all guns blazing to clinch the match and title. Amee had been playing spectacularly throughout the tournament and she also made a highest break of 68.

Earlier, in the men’s semifinals, Advani had got past Sourav Kothari 6-2. The players shared the frames at 2-2, and in the fifth frame Advani made four excellent snookers to get back into the game. He then clinched the next four frames on a trot to seal the tie. In the other semifinal, Chawla had to dig deep to edge out Akshay Kumar who had built up a 4-1 lead in his first ever semifinal appearance in the Nationals. However, Chawla hit back hard and used all his experience to come out trumps.

The results
  • Final: Pankaj Advani bt Kamal Chawla 7-3 (0-65(65), 66-5, 0-66(45), 40-9, 71-0, 1-50, 42-37, 70(70)-0, 41(41)-1, 49-14).
  • Semifinals
  • Chawla bt Akshay Kumar 6-5 (48-00, 09-48, 15-53, 04-34, 37-40, 62(61)-00, 40-17, 19-52, 68(68)-00, 38-13, 33-13);
  • Advani bt Sourav Kothari 6-2 (28-40, 49-00, 09-39, 41-17, 57-47, 38-15, 47(44)-08, 48-21).
  • Women
  • Final: Amee Kamani bt Viday Pillai 4-1 (24-29,49-28,58-0,45-32,34-0).
  • Final standings: 1. Amee Kamani, 2. Vidya Pillai, 3. Umadevi R. 4. Sunita Damani.