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advani: Pankaj Advani wins World Billiards Championship for 26th time


Indian cueist Pankaj Advani rallied to win the IBSF World Billiards Championship title here on Tuesday for an astonishing 26th time, beating compatriot Sourav Kothari in the final. Trailing 26-180 in the first hour, Advani rallied to beat 2018 world champion Kothari 1000-416 in a rematch of last year’s title match in Kuala Lumpur.

Playing back-to-back games, Kothari took the upper hand first and was going strong but failed to get a few chances to recover Advani from the deficit.

From there, it became a bit frantic as the two players traded visits between them and a couple of 150-plus breaks helped Advani take the lead although Kothari could not make the most of the chances he got.

Advani broke into a break of 214, the highest of the match, and looked unstoppable thereafter.

Advani maintained a healthy lead of 250 points for a better part of the match.

A 99 from Kothari reduced the difference to 150. The ace from Bengaluru then changed gears to extend the lead and reach the 1000 mark with an unfinished break of 199 to end the proceedings. Describing the feeling as “unreal”, Advani said: “I’ve won before so I know how it feels, but to do it again year after year makes all those hours of work worth it on skill, body and mind.

“For me, consistency is the hallmark of success and continuing to bring home world titles to the country is what motivates me the most.”

Advani will not get any rest as he will participate in the next edition of the World Billiards Championship, which has a short format, 150-up.

Kothari blamed fatigue for squandering her early lead.

“My semi-finals went on for almost five hours and I had to play the final with just over an hour break. So I think I was tired,” said Kothari.

“I hope to make rights in the points format now that starts later in the day,” he said.

Kothari managed to pull off a close victory against Dhruv Sitwala, prevailing 900-756 in a grueling semi-final that lasted around five hours.

Kothari had breaks of 223 and 82, while Sitwala scored 199 and 188.

On the other hand, Advani defeated fellow Indian Rupesh Shah 900-273 in the other semi-finals.

He saw breaks of 259 and 176 from the defending champion, while Shah only managed a break of 62 in the 900-over format.

Advani won his first world title in 2003.

He is the only player in the world to win world titles in all formats of both billiards and snooker after maintaining his excellent level of performance to keep India at the top of the world in the 3-ball game.

Although Advani has won the ‘long format’ for the ninth time, he has won the ‘points format’ championship eight times, apart from winning the World Team Billiards Championship once.

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