Having retired from professional snooker after dropping off the main tour last season, Andrew Pagett had a lot to prove coming into the IBSF World Amateur Snooker Championship in Doha.
The Welshman had endured a difficult time at the professional level, where the margin for error is minuscule. The amateur game gives a player a breathing space.
But yesterday, Pagett was up against defending champion Pankaj Advani in the semi-finals and he knew nothing other than his best would topple the fancied Indian. And Pagett delivered just that at the Al Sadd indoor arena yesterday. The 34-year-old put on a masterful show as he outplayed Advani, the 15-time World champion in snooker and billiards, 7-2.
Pagett was in total control of the best-of-13 frames semifinal, as he opened up a 3-0 lead, which included breaks of 71 and 51 in the second and third games respectively. After having breezed into the knockout stage without even losing a frame in four matches, Advani was off colour. The 31-year-old from Bengaluru uncharacteristically scraped into the semis, surviving some close encounters.
Yesterday, Advani failed to find the footing, with Pagett creating the momentum. Advani opened his account in the fourth frame but Pagett maintained his lead, with a 81-point break to win the fifth.
Advani kept a glimmer of hope when he won the sixth frame to make it 4-2, but Pagett won the next three with ease to seal his place in the final.
It was Advani’s second loss in the Doha semis, having bowed out at the same stage at the Asian Snooker Championship in April.
Earlier, Advani had defeated Thailand’s Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon 6-5 in an exciting quarter-final duel to guarantee India a medal in the tournament.
Pagett will face Iran’s Soheil Vahedi in the best of 15-frame final. In the semis, The 27-year-old Vahedi edged out Declan Brennan of Northern Ireland in an edge-of-the-seat thriller. The match wad decided in the last frame, with Vahedi potting the pink and black to stun Brennan 63-52.
Vahedi had allowed Brennan back into game, having allowed a 4-1 advantage slip away. The 23-year-old Brennan, in fact, not only cut down the deficit but took a 5-4 lead. But Vahedi took the 10th and 11th frame to regain the advantage. The Brennan took the match to decider winning the 12th frame, where Vahedi produced an dramatic finish to enter the final.
In the women’s final, defending champion Wendy Jans of Belgium will take on Amee Kamani of India. This is the fifth time Jans has made it to the final of the world championship, having won the title on the previous four occasions. Yesterday, the Belgian lived up to her top billing as she trounced one of the two Thailand players in the semis, Nutcharat Wongharuthai, 4-1.
The 17-year-old Wongharuthai put up a fight in the first two and the fourth frame but wilted under pressure created by the four-time champion. Jans had been in a superior form, having eliminated two of her strongest opponents going into the semis.
The 33-year-old had beaten former European champion Tatjana Vasiljeva of Latvia 4-1 in the last-16. She dominated her quarter-final against former world champion, Ng On Yee of Hong Kong, with an identical score.
Jans will be the favourite going against Kamani, who defeated Thai girl Waratthanun Sukritthanes 4-2.
India’s Kamani is the reigning national 6-Red snooker champion but she will have to be at her best to beat the experienced Jans.
Yesterday though, Kamani showed she can rise to the big occasion as she took a commanding 3-0 lead against Sukritthanes. The 22-year-old Thai bounced back to take the fourth and fifth frame with a break of 47 and 32 and cut down the deficit. But Kamani maintained her composure to pocket a close sixth frame and with it a spot in her maiden world championship final.
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