Amateur Snooker / 2016 Asian Snooker Championship
16th-23rd April 2016 / Doha, Qatar
THE FINAL FOUR AWAIT FATE
After five days of round robin and knockout action, the starting field of 58 has been whittled down to just 4 in the 32nd edition of the Asian Snooker Championship.
The semi-finals line-up also features four different nationalities with Pankaj Advani (India), Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn (Thailand), Mohamed Shehab (United Arab Emirates) and Amir Sarkhosh (Iran) all within two more victories of the continental title, and being offered a guaranteed two year professional tour card from World Snooker. There will also be a new name added to the list of previous winners.
Despite his ultra-impressive Cuesports portfolio, this is a competition that has so far eluded Advani. He emerged from the groups as the Number 1 seed having not dropped a single frame in qualifying.
Come the Last 32 he dispatched Alijalil Ali (Iraq) 4-1 with efforts of 73 and 85 before ousting fellow countryman Ishpreet Singh Chadha 4-3 on the colours in the Last 16, after the youngster had recovered from being 1-3 adrift. During that match, Advani made a 107 in Frame 2.
The reigning IBSF World Amateur Champion had a more straightforward time in the Quarter-Finals as he saw off Syria's Karam Fatima 5-0 with the aid of a 53.
Lertsattayathorn held his nerve by coming through deciding frame finishes against Fung Kwok Wai (Hong Kong) 4-3 and Muhammad Asif (Pakistan) 5-4 in the Last 32 and Last 8 respectively. His victory over Asif saw him construct contributions of 86, 116 and an 81 in the decider - he also came back from 3-4 down.
The Thai's other win was over current Pakistan National Champion, Mohammad Bilal, 4-1. There he had a top effort of 66.
Shehab secured his Last 4 berth by eliminating the previously unbeaten Number 6 seed Omar Alajlani (Saudi Arabia) 5-1 with breaks of 62 and 99.
His earlier wins from Wednesday and Thursday were against Ali Alobaidli (Qatar) 4-3, and former main tour player Habib Subah (Bahrain) 4-1.
In his Last 32 meeting with the host nation's Ahmed Saif (a 2013 Q-School graduate), Sarkhosh rallied with a brace of 61's in claiming the last two for a 4-3 victory. Compatriot Arman Dinarvand was then seen off 4-0 in the L16 (a 52 from Amir).
Sarkhosh's Quarter-Final showdown with the Philippines' Michael Mengorio was one of the ties of the tournament (if not the).
The Iranian looked to be coasting to a win opening up a 4-0 advantage after breaks of 83 and 70 in the third and fourth frames respectively. But Mengorio hit back with runs of 73, 92 and 59 in reducing his arrears to 3-4 and reigniting the contest.
He then looked poised to force a decider after a 50 in the eighth frame, only to see Sarkhosh coolly clear with a 54 to nick it by one point on the final black for a 5-3 win.
For the full results, please visit theAsian Confederation of Billiard Sports' website here.
Written and published by Michael Day on the 22nd April 2016