World Billiards: Sourav Kothari knocks out Pankaj Advani in quarters

Sourav Kothari put on a brilliant show to stun fancied Pankaj Advani 1000-644 in the quarterfinals of the IBSF World billiards (long-up) championship here on Wednesday.

Sourav Kothari World Billiards

Sourav Kothari plays a shot on Wednesday.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Sourav Kothari put on a brilliant show to stun fancied Pankaj Advani 1000-644 in the quarterfinals of the IBSF World billiards (long-up) championship here on Wednesday.

The win erased the bitter memories that Kothari has carried since the 2008 World (time format) championship quarterfinal, in which he blew a 300-plus lead to lose to the same opponent.

This redemption, however, did not come without a real scare. Up 949-538, Kothari missed a simple red pot, which brought the end of an otherwise masterful 293-break. “Even in 2008, I missed a simple red pot, and that cost me the match against Pankaj. Just yesterday, I had a long discussion about that terrible incident with you media guys. So when the red popped out today, I closed my eyes in disbelief and all of your (mediapersons' ) faces rushed through my mind.”

There would no heartbreak this time. Advani did threaten to stage a comeback by making a 100-break, but it was too little too late. “I think the 293 was the clincher. I was in the zone, so much so that I did not even see the score. I tried to keep out the nerves, as this does not help my game at all,” Kothari said. The former Asian billiards champion credited his father, Manoj Kothari, for his success. “I’ve been working with dad for seven months now. He told me to forget about snooker and just concentrate on billiards. This has really helped,” he said.

In another quarterfinal, Dhvaj Haria continued his fine run by defeating Myanmar cueist Aung Htay 1001-677. The 23-year-old Haria will face Kothari in the semifinal on Thursday.

Chennai teenager S. Shrikrishna, who defeated B. Bhaskar in the last-16 round in the morning session, was taken out by Rupesh Shah. The experienced Rupesh recorded a 216 during the course of his victory, while the 16-year-old Shrikrishna made just the single century.

Rupesh takes on the decorated Peter Gilchrist in the second semifinal.

The results:

Quarterfinals: Sourav Kothari (Ind) bt Pankaj Advani (Ind) 1000-644; Dhvaj Haria (Ind) bt Aung Htay (Myn) 1001-677; Peter Gilchrist (Sing) bt Robert Hall (Eng) 1000-347; Rupesh Shah (Ind) bt S. Shrikrishna (Ind) 1002-646.

Pre-quarterfinals: Advani bt Alok Kumar (Ind) 750-547; Kothari bt Jaiveer Dhingra (Ind) 750-432; Htay bt Chit Ko Ko (Mmr) 750-697; Haria bt Shankar Rao (Ind) 750-381; Shrikrishna bt B. Bhaskar (Ind) 750-721; Shah bt Siddharth Parikh (Ind) 750-470; Gilchrist bt Soheil Vahedi (Irn) 750-299; Hall bt Dhruv Sitwala (Ind) 752-632.