Doha, September 21: Ace cueist Pankaj Advani led India to the semifinals of the Asian Team Snooker Championship after defeating top seed Thailand to be assured of a medal here on Thursday (September 20). After qualifying from the group, the Indian team faced top seed Thailand in the quarterfinals and it emerged 3-0 victorious.
Manan Chandra, the Delhi-based cueist who won his maiden world title earlier this year, drew first blood with a comfortable 58-29 win over Passakorn Suwannawat. In the second frame, the 19-time world champion Advani dominated the proceedings with a fluent 64 break to take 2-0 up in the best-of-5 match, winning the frame 92-9 against Thailand's Thanawat Tirapongbaiboon.
In the third frame, after an exchange of safety shots, Bengaluru-based Pankaj got the first opening and he did not disappoint. As if set on a mission, the ace cueist crafted a beautiful 99 break before missing out on a century due to a long, tricky shot on the final yellow along the side cushion.
The damage however was already done. The format, similar to the Davis Cup, involves a race-to-3 match with two players from a country playing two singles one after the other, then doubles and then two reverse singles.
The doubles, however, is played by the same singles players. In the semifinals, which is scheduled for Friday (September 21), India will play against the winner of the Hong Kong vs Pakistan match.
India defeated Thailand 3-0 Manan Chandra beat Passakorn Suwannawat 58-29; Pankaj Advani beat Thanawat Tirapongbaiboon 92(64)-9; Manan/Pankaj beat Passakorn/Thanawat 110(99)-0.