Mumbai: Aditya Mehta kept the home country's hopes alive in the Indian Open World Ranking Snooker Tournament as he scored his first-ever victory over higher ranked Mark King of England 4-3 to enter the second round on Thursday.
Mehta took a handy 3-0 lead before his rival, who has beaten the Indian professional in all their four previous meetings, clawed his way back to take the next three and draw level after the Indian ace muffed a simple black pot that would have given him a 4-1 victory.
A determined Mehta - the world no. 50, then strung together a half century break to take a big lead in the deciding seventh frame and with his rival ranked 33rd in the world - unable to pot well, won it and the match to earn a second round meeting with world no. 8, Ricky Walden of England.
Mehta, who had last met and lost to King in the China Open last March, said after his notable win that he matched his rival today as he won 82-7, 60-17, 78-9, 25-104, 56-57, 45-76, 76-4.
"I matched him in quality today. He took time to adjust to the conditions but I knew once he did that he will come back hard. I should have won the match 4-1 but missed on the black. I should have taken a breath at match-ball, in hindsight, before playing that shot," said Mehta.
"I take a lot of confidence from this win. I will take it one match at a time. He is also a top 16 player but I know my safety game is as good as any other player," said Mehta when asked about his next opponent Walden.