Mumbai: Adity Mehta, the lone Indian left in the fray, produced a solid performance which kept his countrymen’s interest alive in the 300,000 pounds Indian Open Snooker World Ranking Tournament, being played at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Kalina. The 29-year-old Mumbai cueist Mehta showed great composure and fighting spirit to stave off the challenge from England’s 40-year-old Mark King before snatching a nail-biting 4-3 victory in a first round match, late Wednesday night.
The Indian, world ranked 50, started with a flourish and with his more senior and experienced English opponent, ranked 33, struggling with his potting, he opened up a solid 3-0 lead. Later King with breaks of 69 and 35 took the fourth frame to reduce the gap. In the fifth, Mehta came within distance of winning the frame and closing out the match 4-1. Trailing 18-50 and with the last three reds left on table Mehta in a cool and calculated manner stitched together 38 points. But with only the black to be potted he played a hasty shot and left the ball on the mouth of the pocket. King made sure to sink the black to win the frame by a narrow one point (57-56) and then went on to pocket the sixth to level scores at 3-all and take the match into the decider.
In the deciding seventh frame Mehta, though, in control made a few mistakes and survived some anxious moments. However, he made up by producing timely breaks of 45 and then a useful 19 which put the issue beyond the reach of the Englishman. King not prepared to give up attempted to snooker the Indian, who did well to come out of those tight situations and go on to win the frame and the match to advance to the second round. Mehta, who had lost to King in four previous meetings prevailed at 82-7, 60-17, 78-9, 25-104, 56-57, 45-76, 76-4.
Later the Indian stated that he was satisfied with his performance. “Obviously, I am hugely relieved to get through my first round match and especially to keep the Indian interest alive after the exit of all the six Indian wild carders,” said Mehta.
He also said that he should have won more comfortably. “Today I matched him in quality and he took time to adjust to the conditions but I knew once he did that he will come back hard. I should have won the match 4-1 but missed on the black. I should have taken a little more time to get back my breath before attempting to play that match-winning shot,” he further stated.
“I now want to take one match at a time. I will go into the next match with more confidence as I am playing well and (I am) fit both physically and mentally,” admitted Mehta.
In second round matches on Thursday, 23-year-old Kyren Wilson of England, world ranked 60, stunned higher ranked, 27-year-old compatriot, Ben Woollaston, ranked 26, by a convincing 4-1 margin.
The young Englishman Wilson lost the first frame but replied with a bang firing in a well-constructed century effort (119) in the second and a neat 105 in the fourth. Besides those two breaks, he compiled breaks of 52 and 75 in the third and fifth frames respectively to knock the fight out of his rival and complete a deserving win. He has now set up pre-quarter-final meeting with countryman Joe Perry, ranked 13, who sidelined another England cueist Rod Lawler, ranked 35, by a similar 4-1 margin.
Mark Davis, ranked 18, was another English cueist to advance to the round of 16. The 42-year-old Davis put to good use his vast experience to beat back a spirited fight from Scotland’s 24-year-old Anthony McGill, winning 4-3 in a long drawn affair.
Results – Round I: Aditya Mehta (India) bt Mark King (England) 4-3 (82(30,43)-7, 60(52)-17; 78(64)-9, 25-104(69,35), 56-57(50), 45-76, 76(45)-4).
Round II: Robert Milkins (England) bt Joe Swail 4-1 (78(54)-44, 84(84)-0, 86(86)-0, 35-101(52,49), 75(53)-24).
Kyren Wilson (England) bt Ben Woollaston (England) 4-1 (24-74, 119(119)-1, 69(52)-35, 110(105)-16, 76(75)-6).
Jamie Jones bt Gerard Greene 4-3 (13-49, 69(58)-31, 49(36)-72, 77(30)-14, 72(51,20)-0, 7-55, 72(68)-9).
Li Hang bt Stuart Carrington 4-1 (90(90)-33, 65(55)-33(33), 78(39)39)-44, 0-138(138), 66(52)-0).
Graeme Dott bt Davis Morris 4-0 (64(36)-8, 91(91)-0, 68(60)-7, 62(48)-35).
Joe Perry (England) bt Rod Lawler (England) 4-1 (120(70)-0, 64(58)-52, 37-92(76), 91-23, 95(95)-8).
Mark Davis (England) bt Anthony McGill (Scotland) 4-3 (63-52, 77(52)-33, 84(41)-43, 28-73(49), 19-64(37), 1-70(70), 70(47)-41).
Tian Pengfei (China) bt Mark Joyce (England) 4-1 (59(40)-106(51), 62(48)-41, 70(50)-58), 71-41, 106(106)-0).
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