Geet Sethi of Gujarat and Maharashtra’s Yasin Merchant, both having an illustrious career record, set up an engrossing semifinal contest on Saturday in the inaugural Rs. 2.5 lakh prize-money Nahar Group-MIG Club All India invitation snooker tournament.
Both Sethi and Merchant, seasoned campaigners of the multi-coloured green baize sport, recorded contrasting quarterfinal victories en route to the penultimate round at the MIG Club billiards hall, Bandra (East) on Friday afternoon.
The evergreen Sethi showed his class to brush aside Maharashtra’s Sarang Shroff, winning the best-of-seven frames quarterfinal by the shortest route.
Sethi got down to business instantly and pocketed the first frame. The second was a close affair as both players tried to snooker each other. With only the last three colours remaining, Shroff, trailing 68-74, required to pot all the three balls. He managed to sink the blue and the pink, but surprisingly missed a simple black. Sethi heaved a sigh of relief before approaching the table to complete the task.
Thereafter Sethi was at his best. Down 0-45, he rallied strongly and came up with small useful breaks to take the third before signing off in style. He neatly compiled a run of 53 and followed it up with a 32 clearance to complete a deserving 67-19, 81-79, 75-31, 82-45 win.
On the adjacent table, Asian runner-up Merchant, despite an indifferent performance, got the better of PSPB’s Alok Kumar, who also struggled to find his rhythm. Merchant won by four frames to two.
Later, a fabulous century, the highest break so far of the tournament, by Railway’s Rupesh Shah wasn’t enough for him to get past PSCB’s Manan Chandra who made the last-four grade with a 4-2 win.
Shah began ominously stringing up a break of 105 in the first fame which he could have easily stretched to around 140 had he not missed a simple red pot. He stands to gain Rs. 5,000 provided his effort is not bettered.