Bengaluru: Former champions Pankaj Advani and Peter Gilchrist had mixed fortunes on the opening day of the IBSF World Billiards championship at the Karnataka State Billiards Association, on Monday.
Playing at home, Bengaluru’s Advani, got off the mark right away winning both his opening day matches in fine fashion. First up for the 31-year-old was country-mate Shankar Rao. Advani made short work of Rao defeating him by a whopping 389 points (500-111) with a highest break of 208 and start the tournament in a convincing manner.
While the hot favourite wove his magic on the centre table, former champion Gilchrist wilted under pressure on the adjacent as he went down fighting to India’s Siddharth Parikh.
In a closely-fought contest Parikh had the last word pulling off the first upset of the tournament, defeating multiple time world champion Gilchrist 500-483.
Mumbai’s Parikh had the first century break of the match compiling 147 to grab the early lead. But true to his champion nature, Gilchrist fought back with two close century breaks. But the Indian held on and took advantage of the Singapore cueist’s slip-ups as he had the final say in the match.
Following the stunning victory, Parikh said, “This is the first time I have beaten him. Last year I lost to him in the semis in the time format and it was a quite a close game. He missed many shots. It was a patchy match. I just concentrated on the basics. I started with a break of 147. He had an off day so I punished him every time he missed a shot,” said Parikh.
The 36-year-old added that a big win like this, that too this early in the tournament would boost his confidence.
“It’s great confidence beating a multiple time world champion. Though the match itself was patchy the win gives me great confidence going ahead in the tournament. He was on 483 and I was on 445. From thereon he missed a canon and I went on to make an unfinished break of 55 to take the game.”
Home boy bests Rupesh
Meanwhile, in the second match of the day, Advani who has not played too many billiards tournaments this year, marked his comeback in the format with another outright victory over compatriot Rupesh Shah.
After getting off to a slow start the local lad got his act together scripting two solid breaks off 123 and 193 to snatch the game from Shah, who had taken an early lead.
The Bengaluru cueist then thrashed Iranian Soheil Vahedi to maintain a clean slate on the opening day. Advani was way too hot notching up an easy 500-66 win.
Later, Gilchrist on to his nerve, overcoming his opening loss to bounce back with a solid victory over England’s Ben Judge. Gilchrist walked away with the game as he downed the Englishman by 407 points (501-94). Gilchrist notched up breaks off 98, 113, 108 en route to a convincing win.