India’s ace cueist Pankaj Advani on Thursday won his third straight IBSF billiards crown in the 150-up format, taking his overall tally of world titles to a staggering 20.
The 33-year-old from Bengaluru overcame Nay Thway Oo of Myanmar in a high-quality final. After bossing the ‘150-up’ format, Advani will now compete in the longer version, ‘Up’ format, commences immediately.
It was also a proud moment for Myanmar which saw its own player in the title round for the first time. Nay Thway Oo did well to oust multiple world champion Mike Russell in the semifinal with a convincing 5-2 victory.
With home support and overall advantage the one thing that was evidently lacking was the experience of competing in a World Championship final as Oo was denied much opportunity to reproduce the magic of his previous match.
Up against the man to beat in the world of billiards, Oo wasn’t given much breathing space as Advani was clearly on a mission to retain his title. And he did so with absolute supremacy. His flow and fluency left even the local crowd in awe of his prowess as they saw the visitor steal the dream from its national hero.
Advani started off the final with a century break of 108. But since he wasn’t able to settle down at the top of the table, the high-scoring zone, he couldn’t reach the 150-mark of the frame, allowing his opponent on to the table.
Oo, however, did not capitalise and the Indian drew first blood. But the Myanmar cueist was determined to put up a fight and made the score 1-1 with the help of a 147 break.
The Indian pulled one back to maintaining the lead with breaks of 91 and 54 to go 2-1 up. However, Oo was not going to relent and added another century to make the score two apiece.
But it was from there that Advani went into overdrive and never looked back.
The next four frames in the race-to-6 encounter saw Advani play with sheer dominance as he compiled four back-to-back centuries of 141, 129, 145 and 151 to stamp his authority on the contest.
“This win is extremely special for me. It’s a perfect 20 and I’m glad that I’m still hungry for more. It’s pleasing to be able to play at a quality level over the years and looking to take this tally beyond a ‘score’,” said the champion.
As Advani played the winning shot, the sporting Myanmar cueist clapped, smiled and rose from his chair to congratulate his worthy opponent.
While this is yet another world title for the maestro, this win also marks a hat-trick of wins in the shorter format. Advani had won in his hometown Bengaluru in 2016 before doing the same in Doha last year.
Earlier in the tournament, Pankaj qualified top of his group without dropping a frame. In the entire tournament it is to be noted that another record was created when he dropped a total of only three frames – one in the quarterfinal against Dhvaj and two in the final.
Scores (Knockout) Final: Pankaj Advani beat Nay Thway Oo 6-2 150(108)-21, 0-151(147), 151(91,54)-0, 4-151(103), 151(141)-11, 150(129)-81(77), 151(145)-109(52,57), 151(151)-0
Semifinal: Pankaj Advani defeated David Causier 5-0 150(97)-73, 152(139)-17, 152(83,69)-8, 151(151)-4, 157(74,51)-86(83).