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PICTURE OF CONCENTRATION: Geet Sethi, who breezed past Gary Norman in the group stage, overcame initial hiccups to beat Thai Suriya Suwannasingh for a place in the last eight.
BANGALORE: Bespectacled Dhruv Sitwala came into his own to shut out the challenge from his Thai rival, the fancied Praprut Chaithanasakun, for a 1023-864 win to lead a virtual Indian sweep into the last eight of the ONGC IBSF World billiards time-format championship here at the KSBA on Sunday.
The Maharashtra based PSCB cueist made every visit of his to the table count. The 46 year old Thai No. 1 came into this championship with an enviable reputation, despite having faltered in the points format which is his strength. But then the Indian southpaw too had to make amends for his listlessness in the other format.
Sitwala took a sizeable first session lead in the two-hour round of 16 encounter and then outplayed his opponent with a markedly defensive approach. Chaithanasakun did make a significant recovery in the dying moments but it came too late. Sitwala, incidentally, had lost to Pankaj Advani in the final at Singapore last year. He will now play Devender Joshi in the quarterfinals and, by his own admission, will “need to muster the confidence.”Joshi, Shah advance
Joshi and Rupesh Shah too had strong performances but against weaker opposition and will have sterner tests ahead in the quarterfinals.
Shah — the last year’s winner in the points format and having been ousted by Advani in the semifinals of that format three days ago — was in a belligerent mood enroute a 1879-792 victory over Prem Prakash, a 300-plus break providing the impetus early in the session.
Irishman Aidan Murray did initially stop Joshi from running away with the match but could not sustain the pressure for long and succumbed timidly in the end.
While Sourav Kothari and Pankaj Advani too made smooth progress into the round of eight, Thailand’s Suriya Suwannasingh gave old war horse Geet Sethi a scare initially.
Sethi, who admits to being a slow starter, did get a few near hundreds to start off. It was only matter of time before he found his rhythm to get cracking for an over 1100-point victory.
Bhaskar was the lone Indian to make his exit at this stage losing out to Thawat Sujaritthurakarn.
Only Sujaritthurakarn and Peter Gilchrist stand in the way of the Indians.
The quarter final line-up: Geet Sethi v Thawat Sujaritthurakarn; Sourav Kothari v Pankaj Advani; Peter Gilchrist v Rupesh Shah and Dhruv Sitwala v Devendra Joshi.
The results: Pre-quarterfinals: Geet Sethi (Ind) 1892 bt Suriya Suwannasingh (Tha) 767; Thawat Sujaritthurakarn (Tha) 958 bt B. Bhaskar (Ind) 832; Sourav Kothari (Ind) 1371 bt Thanh Binh Nguyen (Vie) 1086; Pankaj Advani (Ind) 2036 bt Shyam Jagtiani (Ind) 869; Peter Gilchrist (Sin) 1660 bt Thanh Long Nguyen (Vie) 767; Rupesh Shah (Ind) 1879 bt Prem Prakash (Ind) 792; Dhruv Sitwala (Ind) 1023 bt Praprut Chaitthanasakun (Tha) 864; Devendra Joshi (Ind) 1485 bt Aidan Murray (Ire) 717.
League results: Group ‘A’: Pankaj Advani (Ind) 1483 bt S.M. Shaharwardi (SL) 655.
Group ‘B’: Boon Aun Keith (Sin) 633 bt Darren Taylor (Nzl) 598; Devendra Joshi (Ind) 1171 bt Thawat Sujaritthurakarn (Tha) 556.
Group ‘C’: Calum Hossack (Sco) w/o Philip Mumford (Eng); Sourav Kothari (Ind) 1231 bt Thanh Long Nguyen (Vie) 427.
Group ‘D’: Dhruv Sitwala (Ind) 1312 bt Mohammed Aslam (SL) 505; Thanh Binh Nguyen (Vie) 852 bt Larry Drennan (Ire) 602.
Group ‘E’: Peter Gilchrist (Sin) 1007 bt Shyam Jagtiani (Ind) 735; Md. Asim (Ind) 812 bt Raghoo Sinha (Ind) 698.
Group ‘F’: B. Bhaskar (Ind) 1236 bt Gary Oliver (Nzl) 440; Praprut Chaithanasakun (Tha) 1015 bt Brijesh Damani (Ind) 497.
Group ‘G’: Rupesh Shah (Ind) 1031 bt Arvind Savur (Ind) 637; Suriya Suwannasingh (Tha) 782 bt Wayne Carey (Nzl) 431.
Group ‘H’: Aidan Murray (Ire) 538 bt Tiek Chong Alan Puan (Sin) 426; Geet Sethi (Ind) 1544 bt Gary Norman (Eng) 362.
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