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All-India snooker c'ship: Kothari storms back from the brink of defeat

Mumbai, July 1 (IANS) Sourav Kothari of PSPB showed tremendous resilience as he staged a remarkable fight back to quash the aspirations of Dilip Kumar of Railway by snatching a thrilling 6-5 victory in the best-of-11-frame semifinals of the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) All India Snooker Open ‘Baulkline’ 2022 here on Friday.

In a match of fluctuating fortunes, the 37-year-old Kolkata-based Kothari struggled initially against the 32-year-old Kumar from Chennai and quickly lost the first five frames, to trail 0-5 at the break.

On resumption, a gallant Kothari looked determined to make a recovery and he did it astonishingly by tactically winning the next six frames to snatch a nerve-wracking win with the frame scores reading 13-57, 17-62, 34-71, 22-62, 01-109, 81-07, 69-23, 88-16, 65-16, 79-06, and 70-69 in his favour.

Kumar started in his usual attacking fashion and stunned Kothari by racing to a big lead. But, all of a sudden Kumar seemed to go off the boil and succumbed to pressure as the experienced and wily Kothari meticulously and patiently pocketed one frame at a time to draw level at 5-all.

The decider was a humdinger as both players seemed tense and missed some easy pots and witnessed a nail-biting finish.

After trailing initially in the frame Kothari with clever play managed to gain a slender 57-56 lead, but fouled on the brown and provided Kumar with a golden opportunity.

Kumar potted the brown and blue to lead 69-57, but shockingly missed a regulation pink which would have sealed his win. Thereafter, both players played a couple of safety shots, before Kothari sunk the pink and the black and let out a loud shout to celebrate his success.

Earlier, in the quarterfinals, Kothari defeated National runner-up and India number two Malkeet Singh of Railways 5-3 (71-67, 104-0, 21-55, 59-50, 117-15, 44-113, 17-107, and 72-32), while Kumar got the better of Maharashtra’s Sparsh Pherwani 5-4 (75-17, 72-20, 14-45, 16-67, 49-88, 31-69, 67-4, 95-13, and 80-40).

In the other last eight matches, National champion Ishpreet Singh Chadha of Maharashtra blanked statemate Kreishh Gurbaxani 5-0 (55-15, 63-62), 124-1, 92-27, and 127-15) and Laxman Rawat of PSPB defeated teammate Brijesh Damani 5-1 (70-23, 55-44, 1-77, 139-0, 78-32, 73-26).

Results (quarterfinals): Sourav Kothari (PSPB) beat Malkeet Singh (RLYS) 5-3 (71-67(67), 104(104)-0, 21-55, 59-50, 117(67,50)-15, 44-113(40), 17-107(72), 72-32). Dilip Kumar (TN) beat Sparsh Pherwani (MAH) 5-4 (75(46)-17, 72(50)-20, 14-45, 16-67(57), 49-88(41), 31-69, 67(57)-4, 95(34)-13, 80-40).

Laxman Rawat (PSPB) beat Brijesh Damani (PSPB) 5-1 (70-23, 55-44, 1-77, 139(139)-0, 78-32, 73(73)-26). Ishpreet Singh Chadha (MAH) beat Kreishh Gurbaxani (MAH) 5-0 (55-15, 63-62(60), 124(124)-1, 92(55)-27, 127(89)-15).

–IANS

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