Two-time Asian champion Yasin Merchant was the toast of the day when he snatched a crucial win in his concluding league tie by a 4-0 margin to squeak into the knock out quarter-finals,in the Rs. 22 lakh RKG-Khar Gymkhana Snooker Masters 2013,at the Khar Gymkhana on Wednesday.
Weighed down by the burden of organizing this tournament,an out-of-focus Merchant had earlier lost to Michael Holt of UK and Neeraj Kumar in Group B that virtually shunted the ace cueist out of the competition. But his crucial 4-3 win over national champion Manan Chandra changed his fortunes and enhanced his hopes. Down but not out,Merchant seized the opportunity and utilized his vast experience to destroy young Jain to ensure a place in the last eight. Merchants spectacular effort left Holt and Chandra to hope for the second spot in the group.
Like Merchant,formidable Siddharth Parekh of Railways also came from behind to keep his hopes alive in Group C with a crucial win over Sourav Kothari of ONGC by a significant 4-1 margin. Parekhs brilliant comeback put Kothari out of the competition,leaving world No. 26 Nigel Bond of UK the difficult,but not impossible,task of beating group winner Aditya Mehta by a two-frame margin to qualify for the knock out.
I felt I was virtually out of the competition, said Parekh. I did not even take the trouble to work out the mathematics. I gave it my best shot though and this win over Sourav was significant. Being a billiards player also,I relied on safety play and it worked well for me.
While Pankaj Advani sealed his berth in the quarter-finals by topping Group D,Shahbaaz Khan of PSPB snatched the second spot by pipping Sandeep Gulati of Delhi 4-1 in a contest where a win for either player was mandatory to qualify.
World No. 21 Stephen Lee of UK and Kamal Chawla of Bhopal made it to the knock out from Group A.
Group A: Dharminder Lily (Pun) bt Harish Pahuja (Khar Gym) 39-71,62-16,77(38)-11,61-39,78-17; Stephen Lee (GBR) bt Laxman Rawat (PSPB) 74(63)-1,69(69)-51(51),54-36,66-2; Laxman Rawat (PSPB) bt Aayush Kumar (Pun) 59-17,65(58unf)-37(37),22-60,68-60,65(40)-13. B: Michael Holt (GBR) bt Balaji Reddy (TN) 32-53,55-52,75(49)-24,74-25,38-62,66-16; Yasin Merchant (Khar Gym) bt Himanshu Jain (Hyd) 88(46)-7,93(65)-14,81(56)-31,78-30; Himanshu Jain (Hyd) bt Michael Holt (GBR) 75(75)-0,91(85)-1,5-75(60),48-47,30-7 conceded; Balaji Reddy (TN) bt Neeraj Kumar (S.E. Rly) 67-24,31-56,58-47,40-62,91(85)-4,62-15. C: Siddharth Parekh (Rlys) bt Nigel Bond (GBR) 40-60,9-96(74),63(42)-16,67-30,64(64)-6,63-54; Shivam Arora (Mah) bt Vijay Nichani (TN) 52-45,58-47,53-44,39-55,44-96,45-61,60-34; Siddharth Parekh (Rlys) bt Sourav Kothari (ONGC) 62-51,67(61)-58,53(38)-45,54-56,60-52; Sourav Kothari (ONGC) bt Nigel Bond (GBR) 57-17,51-69(46),64(33)-13,57(48)-16,35-86(31),69-31. D: Shahbaaz Khan (PSPB) bt Sandeep Gulati (Delhi) 42-66,70(70)-22,103(103)-4,83(45)-17,56-10; Pankaj Advani (PSPB) bt Shahbaaz Khan (PSPB) 48-62,65(56)-22,63-3,79(64)-53,57(43)-42; Faisal Khan (Rlys) bt Shoaib Khan (WB) 80-5,83(75)-24,70-31,49-53,61-54.