Defending champion Pankaj Advani, runners-up Geet Sethi along with top players like Ashok Shandilya, Devendra Joshi and Dhruv Sitwala entered the billiards quarter-finals of the 76th National Billiards and Snooker Championship on Thursday.
Sethi took just an hour to brush aside junior billiards champion Shahbaz Adil Khan of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) in straight games 151-2, 151-2, 151-120 with big breaks of 105 and 92.
Advani looked in trouble when his PSPB teammate Sourav Kothari wrested the first game 151-103 with a break of 75. But the world professional billiards champion notched up a break of 89 in the next to win 151-21 and draw level. Advani then went ahead winning the next 150-94 but in the fourth, Kothari and Advani were neck-n-neck till 148. Kothari was in an advantageous position when he lost a canon allowing Advani pounce on the opportunity and win the two-hour battle of nerves 151-148.
Shandilya defeated Bengal's Manish Jain 151-22, 27-154, 150-42, 151-56 and in other pre-quarter finals Rupesh Shah of PSPB beat Shakeel Ahmed of Bengal 152-107, 151-58, 150-101 and Alok Kumar ousted Shyam Jagtiyani of Railways 152-59, 118-150, 152-108, 150-142.
Both Joshi and Sitwala had to struggle hard. Joshi defeated Rafat Habeeb of Railways 151-110, 144-150, 151-99, 50-151, 150-90, while Sitwala beat Arun Agarwal of Maharashtra 153-57, 115-150, 76-150, 151-86, 151-7.