Pankaj Khatri,Mihir Gokhale and Arun Barve qualified for the pre-quarterfinal round of the Open Billiards Championship at Deccan Gymkhana Thursday.
Khatri had to win two matches to secure a berth in the last 16,while Barve won his last league match to seal his place in the pre-quarterfinals. Gokhale of Deccan Gymkhana also made it to the knockout stage.
Khatri began with a straight-frame victory over Samar Khandelwal of Deccan Gymkhana,winning 50-6,50-11,but found the going tougher against R K Sharma. Khatri lost the first frame 46-50 before winning the next two 50-30 and 50-13 to overcome Sharma. PYC cueist Barve,too,had a tough time against Satish Karad of Deccan Gymkhana despite winning the first frame 50-43. Karad snapped up the second 50-32 forcing the match into decider,which Barve won 50-39.
Gokhale began his last league match against Sunil Chaudhari of Corner Pockets in tentative fashion but took the first frame 50-44. Chaudhari won the second 50-35 but Gokhale held his nerve to win the decider 50-45. The pre-quarterfinals and quarterfinals will be played Friday.