Sourav Kothari bags RKG snooker title

Reigning World billiards champion Sourav Kothari won 6-4 in the best-of-11 frame final to beat Divya Sharma and win the RKG Red-10 snooker championship on Friday.

Sourav Kothari receives the winner’s trophy from chief guest Ravindra Gupta after claiming the title in the RKG Red-10 snooker championship.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Sourav Kothari stopped a fighting Divya Sharma in an enthralling final to claim RKG Red-10 snooker championship at the Boat House Club here on Friday.

The reigning World billiards champion won 6-4 in the best-of-11 frame final for the first prize of Rs. 1.25 lakh. Divya, who made the third seed strive all the way, received Rs. 70,000.

The two warmed up for the final after scoring an identical 5-4 triumphs in the semifinals. In what was seen as the ‘final’ before the final, Kothari rallied from being 2-4 down against Manan Chandra to win the last three frames. Divya produced his best in another gripping battle and signed off in style by winning 52-0 in the deciding frame against Paras Gupta.

The title-clash had its moments. After the players shared the first two frames, Divya established a 43-1 lead. Undeterred, Kothari bridged the gap with a break of 22 and followed it up with an unfinished 25 to take a 2-1 lead.

“This frame was probably the best of the match. Had I not pulled this off, it could have become more difficult for me,” said Kothari. Thereafter, the players won alternate frames, with Kothari taking the lead and Divya drawing level.

In the ninth frame, when down 0-30, Divya misplayed a shot for the red and gave Kothari the opening he needed. What followed was an unfinished break of 67, the highest of the final.

Needing to win the 10th frame to stay in the match, Divya played tactically and came up with several safety shots to keep Kothari thinking. But eventually, it was Kothari who had the last laugh.

In the Rs. 50,000 ‘shootout’ format that followed, Kothari prevailed to bag the winner’s purse of Rs. 30,000 by beating Paras Gupta in the one-frame face-off. Paras received Rs. 20,000.

The results

Final: Sourav Kothari bt Divya Sharma 6-4 (33-44, 66-15, 48-43, 0-59.
56-28, 36-60, 54-15, 6-56, 97-0, 49-21).

Semifinals: Sourav Kothari bt Manan Chandra 5-4 (12-57, 55-30, 28-72,
51-7, 14-52, 26-59, 54-10, 51-9, 45-6); Divya Sharma bt Paras Gupta
5-4 (61-22, 68-19, 13-50, 36-53, 53-38, 9-56, 55-30, 4-42, 52-0).