New Delhi: India's leading professional cueist Pankaj Advani opened his campaign at the Indian Open world ranking snooker tournament with a dominating 4-1 victory over world number 29 Marcus Campbell on Tuesday.
The Scot seemed off-colour as he struggled against the formidable Indian, who was in a punishing mood.
Advani, an eight-time world champion, showed his winning experience with a strong start to the match. The Indian raced to a 1-0 lead with the help of a 74 break and followed that up with some fine potting to make it 2-0.
Advani enjoyed a healthy lead in the third, starting with a 52 break but Campbell showed he was an opponent not to be taken lightly. A fluke red in the centre pocket was all he needed to carve out a brilliant clearance with two reds remaining to reduce the scoreline to 2-1.
The Indian, only in his second season on the pro circuit, responded to the pressure and stamped his supremacy by scoring the highest break of the tournament so far with a 134 clearance leaving the fans awestruck and his opponent with little hope.
A closer affair in the fifth frame, Advani again took a huge lead starting the proceedings with another 52 break.
Campbell had his chance but faltered on a critical black before Advani potted enough to secure the frame and match, forcing Campbell out of his seat to concede the encounter with a gentlemanly handshake.
This win keeps both the Indian professionals - the other being Aditya Mehta - alive in the inaugural Indian Open ranking event.
The matches lined up for Wednesday are vastly contrasting as Advani takes on a tough opponent in world number 11 Mark Allen, the winner of the recent Ruhr Open Championship, while Mehta, who turned pro six years ago, will be expected to face little resistance from his Wednesday's opponent - Bangladesh's Hammad Miah, who is ranked 107th.
Reflecting on the match, Advani said, "It was a good start for me, but the second frame was crucial as it could have gone the other way. He has not been in best of form on the circuit, but had he won the second frame, it could have been different."
Asked about the century break, the Bangalorean said, "Frankly, I do not remember much or how it all started. Only when there were last two reds, I realised I was on a big break. I was lucky when on 49 as I took the eyes off the black, but it hit the jaw before rolling in."
On his match against Allen that is scheduled for 8pm on Wednesday, Advani said, "I have not played Allen before, but he is in good form. He recently won an European PTC event in Germany."
Earlier, Four-time world champion John Higgins of Scotland reigned supreme on the green baize as he thrashed England's Joel Walker 4-0 to enter the second round.
The 38-year-old Higgins hardly broke a sweat in blowing away the challenge of 19-year-old Walker, who committed far too many errors.
The world number 10 Scot showed his class and treated the crowd some quality snooker at the Le Meridien Hotel.
"It's the best table that I have played on all year. I was lucky today. It was Joel's first match on the TV and he gave me a lot of chances," Higgins, who had breaks of 76 and 61 in the third and fourth frames, said after the match.
"I have not been playing well of late because I was tinkering with the cue that I changed a few times, tried different sizes. But now, I am happy with my cueing and hopefully, win a few matches. I capitalised on my breaks as the best-of-seven-frames is a difficult format," he said.
The second day of the 300,000 pound event saw Scotland's Anthony McGill snatching a 4-1 win over England's Barry Hawkins who lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final of the World Championship earlier this year.
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