Focusing on tournament news from across the world, this month’s WPBSA International Round-Up edition takes us to billiards and snooker events in Asia and Oceania.
Former world ranking event finalist Aditya Mehta overcame fellow ex-professional Pankaj Advani in a showcase final to regain the Indian National Snooker Championship in Pune.
Following a 100% groups stage record, Mehta ended the hopes of Lalrina Renthlei 5-0, Paras Gupta 5-0, Varun Madan 5-2 and Pushpinder Singh 5-3 in the subsequent knockout phase. The vastly decorated Advani booked his final berth after coming back from 3-0 down to deny Laxman Rawat 5-3 during the last four, in what was a repeat of last year’s title match.
Mehta began the final strong by constructing a break of 103 in the first frame before multiple-time and defending champion Advani took the next two to go 2-1 in front. That would be Advani’s last contribution, though, as Mehta – aided by runs of 51 and 61 – ran out a 6-2 winner to conquer the tournament for a fourth time in his career. This latest success would have been sweet for 34-year-old Mehta, as since his previous triumph in 2016 he suffered with a persistent neck injury that hampered and sidelined him from action.
Despite his loss, Advani still had cause for celebration last month after chalking up a 10th national billiards championship with a 5-2 (150 up games) victory over 2018 world champion Sourav Kothari in the final.
Former world women’s championship finalist Vidya Pillai pipped Amee Kamani 3-2 to retain the Indian Women’s Snooker Championship title; the 10th time that the accolade has been hers. There was a better outcome for Kamani in the women’s billiard event, though, as she defeated Keerath Bhandaal 3-1 to shelf silverware.
Final | Aditya Mehta 6-2 Pankaj Advani
Breaks – Mehta 103, 51, 61
Muhammad Asif staged an impressive recovery to clinch his fourth Pakistan National Snooker Championship earlier this month in Karachi.
Asif won all six of his group matches to qualify for the knockout stage where he defeated Mohammad Bilal 5-2, Babah Masir 5-4 and Asjad Iqbal 6-4 to set up a final with unseeded former champion and fellow Faisalabad cueist Shahid Aftab.
After losing the opening frame of the best-of-15 final, Asif crafted breaks of 69 and 63 to move 2-1 ahead, although it was Aftab who gained firm control as he racked up the next five frames to move 6-2 up.
An effort of 58 helped Asif stop the rot and eventually halve the deficit but Aftab secured the 11th frame with an 85 to move within one of the trophy. However, at the point of no return, Asif mounted a memorable comeback, stringing together the next four frames to win in a decider and claim the 45th edition of the competition.
Thirty-seven-year-old Asif previously won this accolade in 2009, 2012 and 2018.
Final | Muhammad Asif 8-7 Shahid Aftab
Breaks – Asif 69, 63, 58, 72 | Aftab 68, 71, 85
World billiards champion Peter Gilchrist made his trip from Singapore worthwhile as he defended the Club Marconi Sydney Open.
The level 4 World Billiards ranking event featured a strong host nation contingent, but it was world number one Gilchrist who stood out from the rest with a dominant display across the three days in Bossley Park.
Gilchrist had no issues finishing top of his group and qualifying for the knockouts where he eliminated Darren Martin, Roger Farebrother and Frank Humphreys. In a repeat of last year’s final, Gilchrist defeated Joe Minici 811-450 in the two-hour contest, where he compiled a run of 308. The champion made a 317 break during the round robins – an effort that pocketed him the high break prize.
Final | Peter Gilchrist 811-450 Joe Minici
Breaks – Gilchrist 308, 90, 73, 55 | Minici 53, 48