A minor hit with Dharminder Lily before his pre-quarterfinal match at the 3rd National Carombole Championship was enough indication of things to come for Manan Chandra,winning against the two-time defending champion in the practice game.
But initial hiccups in his actual match against Delhis Sunny Solanki meant the world No 3s attempts to win this years event ran into trouble. Till the halfway mark the 20th visit to the table and trailing 5-6 to Chandra,Solanki could be forgiven for thinking of an upset win.
On the other side of the five-minute break came the quick breaks from the champion cueist and,within minutes,the thoughts were all but shattered. Chandra marched ahead with a three-point break in the 23rd visit and ended with the tournaments highest score so far 20. The final score read 20-8 in Chandras favour.
This was his first game in some time and the starting problems didnt bother him. Its a good score to have considering the fact that I havent played much of this format, he told Sportline on Monday.
With a choc-a-bloc schedule ahead till the IBSF World Championship in Hyderabad from November 15-29,Chandra had initially decided to skip the meet. Hell travel to Thailand for an invitational meet before the selection camp in Bangalore,then participate in the 3rd Asian Indoor Games from October 30-November 9. Before that,though,he will play the nationals in Agra from September 14-October 4.
I thought of missing this (carombole) meet and was keen on going to UK for a month’s training. But I decided otherwise and since the tournament is being held in Delhi I came. I will participate in four-five tournaments before the World Championship where I will get good game time and practice, he added. Chandra is keen to work on the mental aspect. I need to work on my defensive play and get mentally stronger. I have lost matches which I shouldn’t have lost. During the 2006 World Championships semi-finals I was leading by 48 points in the final break but finally lost the match 8-7.
Dharminder Lily had an easy game,defeating Haryanas Divya Sharma 14-6 to set up a quarter-final clash with Delhi’s Anuj Uppal,who beat Anil Sharma 16-8.
Monday’s results: Vaibhav Sharma (UP) w/o Rupesh Shah (PSPB),Dhruv Sitwala (PSPB) bt Vivek Pathak (Del),Vijay Goel (Del) w/o Sumit Talwar (CHD),Alok Kumar (ONGC) bt Akshay Kumat (UK) 16-4,Manan Chandra (BPCL) bt Sunny Solanki (Del) 20-8 and Dharminder Lily bt Divya Sharma (HAR) 14-6.”