Pankaj Advani Clinches World Billiards Title


London, Sep 7: India's Pankaj Advani won his maiden world professional billiards title when he vanquished defending champion Mike Russell 2030-1253 in a five-hour final at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.

Advani, who also won the world amateur snooker championship in 2003 and two years later the billiards title, Sunday became only the second Indian after Geet Sethi to win the World Professional Billiards title in its 139-year history.

The 24-year old Pune-born Bangalorean led 1070-418 at the end of the first session of two and half hours and consolidated his gains in the second session even as the 41-year old Russell, the nine times champion, fought back.

Advani, winner of three amateur world titles, was off to a flier with breaks of 132, 93, 170, 91, 226, 93, 101 and 106 in the first session to put Qatar-based Englishman Russell under pressure. In fact, such was the Indian's consistency that he averaged a phenomenal 63 points per visit as against Russell's 23.2.

Advani was only too aware of Russell's matchless ability to pull off big breaks and so, going into the second session, the Indian ace exercised a good deal of caution to keep his opponent in check.

Even then, Russell, who had just one century break (193) in the first session, compiled 100, 219, 92, 52 and 129 in the second essay, but they only served to inject some excitement into the proceedings while not influencing the outcome.

In reply, Advani cracked 85, 97, 136, 147, 106 and 71 to stay in front and eventually win by a comfortable margin.

Advani now has the rare distinction of being the World IBSF and professional champion. He had won the IBSF titles in 2005, 2007 and 2008 besides the points-format titles in 2005 and 2008.

He is also the only Indian to win World Championship crowns in both snooker and billiards. Advani won the IBSF World snooker title in 2003 to emulate the feat of late Om Agrawal who is the only other Indian to win the coveted crown in 1984.

Incidentally, Advani is also the reigning Asian champion having won back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2009.



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