New Delhi: After becoming the first Indian ever to reach the quarter-finals of a major ranking event, Pankaj Advani on Friday lost to world number two, England's Judd Trump, in the last-eight contest of the BetVictor Welsh Open Pro Snooker Series at Newport, Wales.
Eight-time World champion, Advani put up a brave fight after losing the first four frames and stretched the Englishman to the limit before eventually losing 2-5. "I've had a fantastic tournament and lost to a terrific player. I'm really pleased with how I've played and hope to continue the great form going in to the World Championship in a few weeks," Advani told PTI. "With each and every match I play, there's more and more to learn. One can never know enough. I'm thoroughly enjoying the journey and hope to reach many more milestones," he added.
The southpaw from London found his form against an opponent, who created sporting history by becoming the first Indian cueist to enter the top-eight of an international professional snooker tournament. Advani went 0-2 down in a short span of time as Trump scored heavily to win the frames 73-20 and 72-19. In the third, the Brit scored a 52 break to stretch the gap to 3-0. The 27-year-old Bangalorean, yet to settle in to the match, scored a 39 break before Trump cleared the table with a 78 to be one frame away from booking his semi-final berth.
After a mandatory break, Advani returned to avoid the impending whitewash by winning the fifth frame with some clean potting and tight safety. Trump started the sixth frame with a 59 break, almost sealing the match but would never have imagined the surprise he had coming. Advani replied with a 26 break and then followed it with a perfect snooker. Conceding six points before removing it, Trump left the final red on in the center pocket for Advani.
Now only 26 behind Trump, the Indian produced one of the most spectacular clearances of the tournament, given that the green and pink were almost impossible to pot. Advani won that thrilling frame on the black ball to make the score 2-4. However, the recovery from the jaws of defeat did not change much in the seventh frame as Trump scored a fluent 69 break to end the fine tournament Advani has had.
Advani had defeated Scotland's Graeme Dott 4-1 in the pre-quarters on Thursday while on Wednesday, he had emerged victorious against former world champion, England's Shaun Murphy, 4-3 in the Round of 32.
Scores: 73-20, 72-19, 69-3, 78 (78)-39 (39), 18-62 (38), 59(59)-66 (33), 98(69)-0.