Pankaj Advani is on a roll. After becoming the first Indian to enter the pre-quartefinals of a world professional snooker event, the cueist from Bangalore went one better by storming into the quarterfinals of the Welsh Open. Pankaj stunned the 2005 World champion Shaun Murphy to enter the last 16. He set up a clash with Graeme Dott of Scotland. But the world No 13 had no answer to the potting prowess of Pankaj as the Indian won 4-1 to add another feather in his cap.
Pankaj won the first frame 73-7 with a superb break of 63. In the second frame, he was even more devastating as he notched up a 73-break to win the frame 74-1 and kept Dott pinned to his corner. The 2-0 lead that Pankaj wrapped up saw the Scot launch an all out offensive and make it 2-1 winning the third 84-39.
Adopting to a lot of safety play, Pankaj kept Dott at bay winning the fourth with small breaks at 75-37. Before Dott could do an encore, Pankaj rolled down a century break to take the fifth 100-1 to seal victory.
In all the five frames, Dott could not produce a single 50-plus break. Dott turned pro in1994 and won the World Championship in 2006 and the China Open in 2007. He also has a highest break of 147 which he got in the British Open in 1999.
Pankaj now takes on Judd Trump of Bristol, against whom he has a victory, or Andrew Higginson in the last eight. Judd Trump won the China Open and the UK Championship in 2011.
Interestingly, despite his tremendous efforts, legally established betting firms are giving Pankaj Advani longer odds to win the Welsh Open as an outsider. ‘William Hill’ and ‘Victor’ quote him at 16 to 1 while ‘Paddy Power’ and ‘Coral’ are offering 20 to 1. ‘Betfair’ are ready to offer 18 to 1 for Pankaj to win the title.