Kamal Chawla, the Asian snooker championships bronze medallist, defeated Manan Chandra 5-4 (21-39, 80-41, 64-29, 47-35, 66-50, 29-75, 64-90, 57-77, 55-43) to enter the final of the SBA Open-cum-Invitational Snooker Championships at the Professional Billiards hall in New Delhi on Monday.
The Railway employee will take on Faisal Khan who easily defeated Divya Sharma 5-2 (58-55, 47-49, 77(B/53)-0, 43-82, 62-43, 76(B/47)-16, 91(B/46)-40) in the first semifinal of the day.
On his semifinal meeting with Manan, Chawla had said it would not be easy.
“Manan is in a good form and I have to be extra cautious in the semis,” said the bronze medal winner from the Asian Championships last fortnight at Dubai.
Chawla’s words were prophetic as he came through a tough examination by Chandra after his opponent had equalled the match 4-4.
In the quarterfinals held earlier in the day, Chawla had downed Pushpender Singh 4-1 (52-60, 58-48, 63-24, 83-59, 75-48) to enter the semifinals while Delhi’s Manan Chandra had defeated Vipin Sethi by a similar margin.
In the other quarterfinal matches, Divya Sharma and Faisal Khan came through tough battles to beat their Ayush Kumar and Ishpreet Chadha by an identical margin of 4-2.
Unlike matches involving Chawla and Chandra, Sharma and Khan had teetered on their ropes. Sharma was down 0-2, with his potting going awry, but roared back to take the last four frames and grab a semifinal spot. Still, it was a surprise to see Ayush Kumar capitulate after getting a big break of 85 points in the second frame. Divya got a 60-point break to win the third frame at 70-0 and in the next won 62-61 in a close frame score but went from strength to strength to wrap it up 39-70, 15-91, 70-0, 62-61, 57-56, 47-19.
Khan’s story was no different as he too trailed by two frames but won 52-77, 63-70, 126-1, 72-46, 57-33, 80-39, which included two big breaks of 52 on his Chadha visit and 74 in the second. Khan’s domination that followed was complete as he notched up good scores in the last three frames to claim his semifinal berth.
Manan Chandra, on the other hand, didn’t have any difficulty against Vipin Sethi nor did Kamal Chawla against Pushpender Singh. Chandra began on a high note and ended exactly the same way in a high-scoring match. Though he opened with a 100-55 score in the first frame, his big break came in the second where he scored 81 points on a single visit to sound out a clear warning to his rival.