When the bell signalling the end of the first session rang, Devendra Joshi heaved a sigh of relief. The 42-year-old had been warming his seat for a major part of the two-hour session as reigning champion Pankaj Advani went about his business like a possessed warrior.
The 23-year-old stitched three double century breaks and one triple century break to open up an over 1000-point lead at the break. He then held on to the advantage despite a commendable fight back from Joshi in the next two sessions to complete a hattrick of IBSF World Billiards time format championship titles at the Karnataka Snooker and Billiards Association hall on Wednesday.
The 2370-2020 victory over the seasoned challenger also saw Advani complete a grand double of winning the point and time format world titles in the same year for the second time. He had won both the titles in 2005 in Malta.
In fact, Advani had won the national, Asian and double world crown in that year and repeated the feat again this year.
"I rate this year's performance higher to 2005 because of the pressure of expectations I had to handle," Advani told HT after winning the title.
"In 2005, when I won all the titles, I was an underdog trying to prove myself and trying to tell the world that I can be a world champion.
"This year it was tougher because everyone was expecting me to win and there was added pressure since I was playing in front of the home crowd," he added.
That pressure had shown on the champion during the early stages of the both the point format and time format championship, but on both occasions he managed to raise the bar several notches.
Advani, who had outclassed Geet Sethi in the point format final, had to scrape past the eight-time world champion in the time format semifinal on Tuesday but there was no trace of that tentativeness against Joshi.
He began with a double century break and then stitched a 317 to open up a big lead. By the time he was done with the first session, he had made two more double century breaks with the score reading 1274-151.
Joshi looked to fight back in the second session with two triple century breaks and cutting down Advani's lead to under 500 points. But the youngster from Bangalore hit back with two double breaks to wriggle out of trouble.
"I knew I had to come up with big breaks every time he (Joshi) pilled up a decent score. With a player like him even a 1000 point lead can never be enough," Advani added.
Even in the final session, Joshi came up with a 557 break to take the fight to Advani. However, he missed a simple red and Advani came up with another 100 to ensure that his opponent had no chance to upstage him in the remaining 30 minutes.
"Normally finals do not live up to their billings. But this one definitely did. The way Joshi came back with a 550+ break it was incredible," added the champion.
The Bangalorean now wants a break and is planning a family holiday before getting back to business. His next tournament would be the selection trials for the IBSF World Snooker Championship. Though Advani is almost certain to make the grade on the basis of his ranking points, he wants to make sure he continues his fine form.
The youngster, who holds the record of winning five billiards and one snooker world crown in five years, has a warning for all his opponents who are hoping that he will lower his guard some day.