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Indian Open Snooker: Indian wild cards disappoint

Dharmendra Lilly Mumbai, March 10 (IANS) Home hopes took a drubbing as four of the six wild card entries bowed out of the Indian Open World profes ...

Dharmendra Lilly

Mumbai, March 10 (IANS)

Home hopes took a drubbing as four of the six wild card entries bowed out of the Indian Open World professional ranking snooker tournament here on Tuesday. Of the lot, Dharmendra Lilly had the best chance to qualify for the 64-player main draw when he led 3-1 against World No.74 Lu Haotian of China. But the Indian caved in under pressure to eventually lose 3-4.

Also on the wrong side of the cue were Neeraj Kumar who went down 0-4 to Thailand's Thepachaiya Un-Nooh while England's Sam Baird put out Brijesh Damani 4-1 after losing the first frame. Another Englishman Adam Duffy had the measure of Sumit Talwar with a fluent 4-0 decision.

It left only two Indian Wild cards in National champion Pankaj Advani and Faisal Khan who were scheduled to play later in the day.

The 40-year old Lilly began strongly by jumping to a 2-0 lead, aided by small breaks before the 17-year old Chinese found his bearings with a run of 79 to take the third frame. However, the Indian survived a tight fourth frame for 3-1 lead.

The match turned quite dramatically thereafter as Haotian punished Lilly with breaks of 25 and 49 in the fifth frame to reduce the leeway.

While Lilly came under pressure, Haotian gained in confidence as he caught up by winning the sixth frame on an early run of 56. In the decider seventh, Lilly opened with a break of 33 before faltering as the Chinese teenager also put in a 33.

With the match in balance, Lilly moved ahead on a break of 16 before fluffing on the final reds. He allowed Haotian to gain control and seal the frame for the match on the pink.

Earlier, Damani also flattered to deceive as he wasted a good start that saw him take the first frame only to squander the advantage with a series of errors. Baird, ranked 72nd, captailised on the openings to canter home a comfortable winner.

"This is something we must learn from these professionals. They punish us every time we make a mistake and score big points. I had my chances after winning the first frame, but an error in the second was the turning point as he came up with good breaks and took the match away from me," said Damani.

The results (Wild Card round):

Lyu Haotian (China) bt Dharmendra Lilly 4-3: 23-75, 21-66, 81 (79)-23, 47-22, 74-11, 70-23, 66-49; Thepachaiya Un-Nooh (Thailand) bt Neeraj Kumar 4-0: 92-09, 101(64)-15, 101(101)-23, 77 (69)-08; Sam Baird (England) bt Brijesh Damani 4-1: 04-71, 57-26, 67-27, 129 (69,50)-01; 68-31; Adam Duffy (England) bt Sumit Talwar 4-0: 51-15, 63-53, 71-32, 71-45.

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