Pankaj Advani wins 7th World Billiards Championship

Pankaj Advani

Ace Indian cueist Pankaj Advani proved his class once again as he notched up his 7th World Billiards Championship title after comprehensively beating defending champion and seasoned Englishman Mike Russell in the final here.

The celebrated cueist stamped his dominance with a 1895-1216 win over the local favourite.

Fresh from his resounding 881-281 victory over compatriot Dhruv Sitwala in the semifinals, Pankaj raced into a lead with a century break of 147 and a double century break of 298 within the first hour of the five-hour long encounter.

The experienced Mike then scored a break of 397 to equalise but Pankaj fought back strongly with breaks of 131 and 92 to take the lead in the first half of the match.

Pankaj started the second half with another century break of 128 and followed this with breaks of 94 and 108 to cement his lead over Mike.

With a final century break of 119, Pankaj beat the 11-time champion to clinch his fourth world title in the timed format. It was a case of history repeating itself for Pankaj who had beaten Mike 2030-1253 in the finals of the World Professional Billiards Championship in 2009 at the same venue.

Dedicating the title to his mother, an elated Pankaj said, "I am so pleased to have won my seventh world title. I took a gamble while choosing to play the World Championships here in Leeds and not the International Championship on the Professional Snooker tour and I am glad that paid off in my favour.

"I took a tough decision earlier this year to play both Billiards and Snooker at the highest level, and I am glad that I have been able to maintain top form in both the forms."

"This victory like every other shall be treasured yet has its own special meaning given the unique challenges I have faced this year. This win is a testament that if you follow your heart, nothing's impossible," Pankaj added.

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