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Cueists Advani, Mehta cautious before Indian Open

“No Indian has so far gone past the quarter-finals of the World Snooker event. So, we’re not even thinking about the last eight stage right now,” said Advani during a media interaction at the MIG Cricket Club in Bandra yesterday.

Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta
On cue: India’s ace cueists Pankaj Advani (left) and Aditya Mehta at the MIG Cricket Club, Bandra yesterday. Pic/Rane Ashish

Advani (28), who turned professional in snooker a year and a half back, added: “Aditya and me never thought we’d get a chance to play in front of our home crowd so early in our careers. It’s a huge motivating factor. But, apart from the crowd support, there’s not much in terms of home conditions in this event.”

Mehta and Advani are in the same half of the draw and could face each other in the quarter-finals.  Mehta though felt that it is too premature to predict a quarter-final between the two.

“That would be looking too far ahead, but it would be great if one of us can reach the quarters as that will boost the popularity of the sport here,” said the Mumbai lad. Snooker stalwart Yasin Merchant however, felt Advani was the sentimental favourite: “We want them both to win, but it’s difficult.

I’ll call him (Advani) a sentimental favourite though.” The five-day world ranking event will see top cueists like World No 1 Neil Robertson and four-time world champion John Higgins among others fighting for the winner’s prize purse of GBP 50,000. 

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