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Advani, Mehta storm into last 16

Advani, Mehta storm into last 16

New Delhi: Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta kept Indian hopes alive by reaching the round of 16 in the Indian Open World Snooker professional ranking tournament, here Wednesday.

Advani, ranked 70th, beat World No. 11 Mark Allen of Northern Ireland 4-2 for the biggest win of his professional career while Mehta survived some tricky moments before defeating rookie Hammad Miah of England 4-1.

Mehta is next up against former double World champion and boxer-turned-cueist Mark Williams who wrote his own script as he defeated World No. 2 Mark Selby 4-1 in a surprisingly one-sided match while Advani will face Stuart Bingham who beat Thailand's Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon 4-2.

Advani, the 28-year old Bangalorean and ranked 70th, played brilliantly while also enjoying the roll of the balls as he saw off a rather tentative Allen, winner of the recent Ruhr Open in Germany with the Irishman making a mess of several openings that came his way.

Advani who scalped World No. 10 John Higgins en route to the semi-finals of the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany earlier this year, played a fine all-round game in sharp contrast to Allen's inconsistent potting and safety play.

Allen was fortunate to win the opening frame on the colours after Advani sold the yellow after a double-kiss while attempting a safety shot and the Irishman went on to take a 1-0 lead.

Advani recovered well to take the next two frames on breaks of 55 and 71 for a 2-1 advantage. He began the fourth with a 45 break, but Allen replied with a 46 and eventually took the frame when Advani missed a red. A 31 clearance put Allen on level terms at 2-2.

Advani then took control with some delightful snooker and pocketed the fifth and sixth, aided by small but timely breaks to win his first meeting with Allen.

"It was all about putting the balls away and keeping the opponent off the table. Neither of us was playing well today, but I was effective on the colours and that made the difference.

"Today, it was also all about winning and so my break-building suffered a bit. I was not as fluent as I was yesterday. It was a different tactical game tonight (Wednesday night) with the balls all over the place that called for a different strategy.

"Although I was not entirely happy with my game today, I am still striking well and potting the balls I should," summed up Advani.

Earlier, Mehta, the 27-year old from Mumbai and ranked 72nd, kept his composure after losing the first frame that Miah, whose family hails from Bangladesh, clinched with a break of 97 that began when the Indian bungled on a pink.

However, Mehta, who had beaten Miah 5-0 in the Shanghai Masters qualifying tournament, squeezed through the crucial second frame with 28 and 42 before taking control of the match with some astute safety play.

"I thought I played better today (Wednesday) and forced a few mistakes from my opponent. He is a very good potter and my plan was to keep him tight.

"In the first frame, I missed an easy pink after opening the bunch of reds and he made a 97. So, I decided not to hurry. My mindset was not to get negative and go for my shots when there was an opportunity," said Mehta.

The next four frames went to Mehta who made a break of 67 in the fourth that he said was his best moment in the match, and then pocketed the fifth despite trailing by over 40 points as Miah, a product of the Q-school and in his first season on the pro tour, missed the yellow. Mehta cleared the table to clinch the tie.

The results:

Second round: Pankaj Advani (IND) bt Mark Allen (IRE) 4-2 (48-72, 81-0, 92-05, 45-87, 69-42, 73-27); Aditya Mehta (IND) bt Hammad Miah (ENG) 4-1 (20-97, 74-02, 69-27, 68-00, 69-60); Neil Robertson (AUS) bt Rod Lawler (ENG) 4-2 (00-108, 67-10, 73-49, 67-08, 30-75, 63-14); Ding Junhui (CHN) bt Mark Joyce (ENG) 4-3 (07-75, 68-44, 70-09, 22-70, 22-60, 70-19, 89-07); Stephen Maguire (SCO) bt Tom Ford (ENG) 4-3 (85-00, 52-71, 59-79, 60-52, 01-70, 93-00, 54-46); Robbie Williams (ENG) bt Andrew Higginson (ENG) 4-1 (62-18, 75-13, 60-05, 11-73, 103-00); Michael White (ENG) bt Zhang Anda (CHN) 4-3 (08-92, 00-133, 69-23, 55-21, 41-66, 76-40, 79-26); Liang Wenbo (CHN) bt Dechawat Poomjaeng (THA) 4-2 (01-71, 100-01, 87-00, 75-11, 47-63, 84-50); Anthony McGill (SCO) bt Fergal O'Brien (IRE) 4-1 (63-65, 77-25, 75-0, 62-44, 60-49); Mark Davis (ENG) bt Michael Holt (ENG) 4-1 (01-71, 83-1, 58-38, 60-11, 75-00); Mark Williams (ENG) bt Mark Selby (ENG) 4-1 (79-39, 76-0, 69-64, 00-105, 100-00); Mike Dunn (ENG) bt Ratchayothin Yotharuck (THA) 4-0 (85-08, 82-08, 139-00, 78-01); John Higgins (SCO) bt Li Yan (CHN) 4-0 (73-00, 68-34, 84-00, 105-00); Stuart Bingham (ENG) bt Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon (THA) 4-2 (47-69, 72-1, 119-06, 54-07, 36-99, 62-9); Gary Wilson (ENG) bt Marco Fu (HK) 4-3 (85-14, 44-64, 62-18, 120-0, 0-81, 0-137, 99-31).

Centuries: Marco Fu - 137; Pankaj Advani - 134; Zhang Anda - 133; Ratchayothin Yotharuck - 131, 101; Aditya Mehta - 127, 122; Gary Wilson - 125; Anthony McGill - 123, 103; Gary Wilson - 120; Stuart Bingham - 119; Mark Joyce - 114; Ding Junhui - 109, 106; Rod Lawler - 108; Neil Robertson - 103, 103, 103; Robbie Williams - 103; Ricky Walden - 102; Ken Doherty - 102; Liu Chuang - 101; Liang Wenbo - 100; Mark Williams - 100;

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