National Snooker: Pankaj Advani, Amee Kamani clinch titles
Kolkata, January 24 (IANS) Ace cueist and 12-time world champion Pankaj Advani Saturday once again clinched the 26th national title of his glittering career when he went past promising cueist Varun Madan 6-3 to win the National Snooker Championship here at the Bengal Rowing Club.
This was the fourth time in his career that Advani has won both the Billiards and Snooker National Titles. Indore's Amee Kamani on the other hand won her maiden title when she defeated experienced Vidya Pillai in the Ladies Snooker Finals.
In the men's final, Varun Madan, the 24-year-old from Delhi, had an amazing journey as he made his way from the qualifiers to challenge the reigning champion Advani. This was Madan's maiden appearance in the senior national final. Advani, who fought a tough semi-final battle Friday with Dharminder Lilly, made his intentions clear from the start as he won the first two frames 83-15 and 73-35 with breaks of 45 and 54 in each. Madan struck back, pocketing the third, fifth and seventh frames to make it 3-4.
However, the 12-time world champion was unstoppable from there on he did not give Madan any chance clinching the eighth frame posting a break of 74 before clinching the issue in the next with an 81 break. The final scoreline read:
83(45)-15, 73(54)-35, 27-86(57), 79(47)-00, 13-87(62), 76(70)-35, 48-72, 74(74)-00, 96(81)-09.
Terming the seventh frame loss a "wake-up call", Advani said: "I just smiled at it and told myself 'it's part of the game... Just pick up the next frame and once it becomes 5-3 he will be under more pressure as I needed just one more frame'."
The 29-year-old ace cueist from Bengaluru, who had won the senior national billiards last week, thus capped a memorable two-week stint in Kolkata winning his fourth double, and the first since 2009.
"With each passing year, I feel to achieve the double is becoming tougher with so many specialists in either billiards or snooker. But I'm somewhere in between. I'm glad that I remained unbeaten," Advani said after clinching his seventh senior national title.
Advani also has seven senior national billiards titles, taking the total count to 26 in all age groups. Playing in both the formats for last two weeks had been quite hectic and Advani said he was looking forward to some rest now.
Showering praise on Varun Madan, Advani said the Delhi lad would be tough to beat once he becomes smart tactically.
"We've been good friends, we used to hang out in England. I'm very happy for him for making his maiden final. He'll have really good years of snooker. This will be a learning experience him. He was not experienced as Dharminder Lilly (in the semis), so was not able to trouble me tactically," he said. "I thought his attacking play was phenomenal. I think once he steps up his tactical side he'll be tough to beat."
Kamani wins her maiden National Title
In the ladies snooker final, for Kamani, it was a dream comes true as she won over experienced campaigner Pillai of Karnataka. Kamani won the first frame comfortably with the score reading 63-39, but Pillai put it across in the next, winning 21-59. In the next two frames, Pillai failed to capitalise on a streak of good work by failing to pot the black.
Kamani took advantage and went ahead. Though Pillai fought back to win the fifth game 32-64, Kamani eased past her in the sixth and final frame with the narrowest possible margin, winning 45-44.
Kamani, who won her maiden Senior National title today, had won two international honours earlier. She was part of the Bronze Medal winning team in the IBSF World Team & 6 Red Snooker Championship 2014 held at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt last year. She was also the silver medalist in the Australian Open Women's Snooker Championship 2014 held in Sydney.
"Though it was my first National Final, I think I played my natural game. The experience of playing in the two international tournaments last year added to my confidence," said Kamani.
Amee Kamani (Madhya Pradesh) beat Vidya Pillai (Karnataka) 4-2
63-39, 59-21, 60-47, 57-32, 32-64, 45-44