Defending world billiards champion in the long-up format, Sourav Kothari, on Thursday knocked out Pankaj Advani in the pre-quarterfinal of the World Championship in Melbourne. In one of his most commanding performances, Kothari amassed huge breaks of 407, 295 and 170 in a display of relentless scoring to register a comfortable 1047-663 win over Advani in a match stretched to two hours and 30 minutes. In his second visit to the table itself Kothari made his intentions clear by immaculate display of top of the table play by making a 295 break.
Advani when he got a chance made a light contribution before handing over the charge back to Kothari who amid huge uproar made a mammoth break of 407 displaying deft touch at the top of the table. With about one hour remaining in the clock and down by almost 700 points, Advani tried to make a last dash at narrowing the huge deficit with a break of 262 points but the task was an uphill one for Advani who ultimately conceded defeat to a relentless Kothari. Kothari will take on Robert Hall of England in the quarterfinals on Friday.
One of India's most consistent sportspersons, Advani had increased his tally of world titles to 22 by winning a fourth straight final in the 150-up format at the IBSF World Billiards Championship in Myanmar on Sunday. The 34-year-old has brought home a world trophy every year ever since returning from a professional stint in the UK in 2014. In the short format of billiards, this is Advani's fifth title in the last six years. "It's such a touch-and-go format and so unpredictable that winning this four years on the trot and five out of the last six is extremely special," said the champion athlete.
In a repeat of last year's final against local favourite Nay Thway Oo, Advani re-enacted the one-sided match with the same eventual outcome as well as identical scorelines of 6-2. "This is the 150 points format in Billiards which is a shorter format and it is unpredictable because anybody can win on that particular day and to maintain consistency in this short format is an incredible feeling (after winning title) for last four years," he told PTI.
From the word go, Advani was in full flow. The gifted Indian was leading 3-0 at the halfway mark with the help of fluent breaks comprising of 145, 89 and 127, while Nay Thway Oo was yet to open his account. After pulling one back with breaks of 63 and 62, Oo was forced to watch Advani continue to extend the lead. He executed with flair as his sheer brilliance was on display, wowing the Myanmar crowd as they couldn't help but appreciate his brilliant billiards. Advani secured the next two frames which included a 150 unfinished break. He scored a 74 break and shortly after that closed out the match. Oo was completely subdued by his accomplished opponent and had to settle for a silver medal for the second time in a row.