Pankaj Advani makes it to pre-quarters of World Billiards

Advani simply blew away France's Akhilesh Mohan 504-30 for his fourth win in as many matches at the World Billiards Championship on Tuesday.

Pankaj Advani, World Billiards Championship, Bengaluru, 2016

Pankaj Advani has made a smooth switch from snooker to billiards in the span of a week.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

Favourite Pankaj Advani stormed into the World billiards championship pre-quarterfinal after posting his fourth straight victory here on Tuesday. Advani simply blew away France's Akhilesh Mohan 504-30, and strengthened his reputation as the man to beat.

His chief rival, Peter Gilchrist, made the cut as well. In his final league outing, Gilchrist edged out young Indian talent Dhvaj Haria 502-485. Haria, however, would later defeat Siddharth Parikh 501-315 to top Group ‘B’. The 23-year-old Haria shut Parikh out with a fine unfinished 206.

England's Robert Hall prevailed in a close encounter against Devendra Joshi. The visitor seemed down and out after Joshi grabbed a 478-313 advantage, but Hall sprang to life with a 152. On his next visit to the table, Hall closed it out with an unfinished 33.

It was a memorable day at the office for Bengaluru cueist B. Bhaskar. The seasoned campaigner notched up two wins and emerged as the Group 'C' topper. Bhaskar outclassed Ajeya Prabhakar 500-85 in the morning session, and followed this up with a 500-121 win over Sourav Kothari.

Kothari later made amends by recording a 315-break — the highest of the tournament so far — in a 500-272 defeat of Joshi. While Kothari qualified for the knockout round, Joshi made his exit.

Southpaw Dhruv Sitwala became the second player, after Advani, to finish his league engagements with an unbeaten record.

The results:

Group A: Soheil Vahedi (Irn) bt Shankar Rao (Ind) 503-263; Pankaj Advani (Ind) bt Akhilesh Mohan (Fra) 504-30; Shankar bt Mohan 500-317; Rupesh Shah (Ind) bt Vahedi 500-244.

Group B: Peter Gilchrist (Sing) bt Dhvaj Haria (Ind) 502-485; Alok Kumar (Inid) bt Ben Judge (Aus) 501-176; Haria bt Siddharth Parikh (Ind) 501-315.

Group ‘C’: B. Bhaskar (India) bt Ajeya Prabhakar (USA) 500-85; Sourav Kothari (Ind) bt Robert Hall (Eng) 502-447; Aung Htay (Myn) bt Devendra Joshi (Ind) 501-137; Hall bt Joshi 500-491; Bhaskar bt Kothari 500-121; Htay bt Prabhakar 500-168; Kothari bt Joshi 500-272.

Group ‘D’: Nalin Patel (Eng) bt Jaiveer Dhingra (Ind) 501-362; Dhruv Sitwala (India) bt Sasan Lashkari (Irn) 501-145; Chit Ko Ko (Myanmar) bt S.Shrikrishna (India) 501-347; Sitwala bt Nalin 500-193.

Players who have qualified for last-16 round:

Pankaj Advani, Rupesh Shah, Soheil Vahedi, Shankar Rao, Peter Gilchrist, Dhvaj Haria, Siddharth Parikh, Alok Kumar, Sourav Kothari, B. Bhaskar, Robert Hall, Aung Htay, Chit Ko Ko, Dhruv Sitwala, Jaiveer Dhingra, S. Shrikrishna