The 28-year-old thanked his dad Manoj Kothari’s (former world billiards champion) advice that helped him defeat double Asian champion Merchant 6-5 (31-60, 73-43, 69-32, 15-65, 10-56, 63-24, 75-43, 17-84, 65-62, 16-72, 68-49) in a four-and-a-half hour marathon.
“I haven’t played much of snooker for the last six to eight months. During the layoff period dad helped me improve my snooker techniques, that I could execute here and I won. “Though I was known to be a technically correct billiards player, I needed to work hard on my snooker skills. “This is my third open snooker title (the last one being the MIG title in 2010),” explained Kothari. Kothari’s dad Manoj is glad that his son overcame double Asian champion Merchant 31-60, 73-43, 69-32, 15-65, 10-56, 63-24, 75-43, 17-84, 65-62, 16-72, 68-49 that went on for four-and-a-half hours. “As a dad and a coach I am happy that he stuck to my advice and worked on his weakness. I had advised him to concentrate more on billiards. So he hasn’t played snooker much. It is only for the last month or so he practiced for snooker,” senior Kothari told MiD DAY from Kolkata. Kothari was leading 4-3 and looked to seal the match in his favor, but he missed a yellow in the eight frame and the experienced Merchant punished Kothari with a significant break of 30 to draw 4-4.
In the ninth frame Merchant made a brilliant comeback after trailing 0-58, he fired a break of 62 after he pocketed the red cannon in the top left pocket. The break ended prematurely as Merchant missed the black in the top right and Kothari snatched the frame and lead on his second attempt. Merchant won the 10th frame to force the decider, but Kothari started the final frame with caution and made a break of 40 and nailed it at 68-49. Merchant though credited Kothari. He said, “In the final frame my hands were slightly jammed, and that can happen to anybody. But credit goes to Sourav as he held on to his nerves.”
Results: Final: Sourav Kothari (ONGC) bt Yasin Merchant (Khar Gym) 31-60, 73-43, 69-32, 15-65, 10-56, 63-24, 75-43, 17-84, 65-62(62), 16-72, 68-49.