Chennai: Title contenders--Pankaj Advani (PSPB) and Geet Sethi (Gujarat), who have won 16 World titles between them, started their campaign in contrasting styles, winning respective league matches on the opening day of the Senior National Billiards Championship in Chennai on Tuesday.

Seven-time world champion Advani, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Monday, outclassed M S Reddy of the Railways 3-0 (102-43 100-31 100-94) in Group A with unfinished breaks of 48 amd 57 in the 100-up format.

Sethi, a veteran and winner of nine World titles, led by 2-0 margin but had to bring in his best to edge past Siddarth Pariekh of the Railways 3-2 (100-83 102-43 53-101 101-63 101-11) in the best of five frames battle.

Sethi, 50, who is eying his seventh national title after having last won it in 2007, said, "Maybe it was the first match blues. Parkeh is a good player, but like me, he too played below par."

"Remember, he had beaten me in the 2006 Chennai Nationals in the pre-quarters, my worst-ever performance in the championship. But it is good to get the match out of the way and hopefully, I will play better from now on," added Sethi.

Asian and reigning national billiards champion, Alok Kumar of Punjab, recorded an easy 3-0 win over Utsav Ramani (Gujarat) in Group B, while Ashok Shandilya of the Railways, a former World and thrice National champion, scored a confident 3-0 win against Amit Sharma (Delhi).

Petroleum Sports Control Board (PSPB) stars, Rupesh Shah and Sourav Kothari scored identical 3-0 wins but Shah hogged the limelight achieving the day's highest breaks of an unifinished 90 in the second frame and a 83 in the first frame in defeating Shivram Arora of Bhopal.

Shah won at 101(83)-03 100(90 unfinished break)-69 101-63.


Group A
Premprakash(TN) bt I V Rajiv (AP)100(50)-19 102-70 98-100 92-101(57) 101(55)-21 Vishal madan(mah) bt Jaishankar(Jhar) 101-24,101-26,103-88.

Pankaj Advani(PSPB) bt M S Reddy( Rlys) 102(48 unfinished break)-43 100(57)-31 100-94.

Group B
S Simhachallam(Rly) bt Nitin Kohli(UP) 100-09 100-35 99-100 100-75. Shankar Rao(AP) bt Anushal Mittal(Har) 100(54)-59, 101-12 101-43. Alok Kumar (PSPB) bt Ustav Ramani (Guj)102-75 100-27 101-50.

Group C
Geet Sethi (Guj) bt Siddarth Pariekh (Rlys) 100-83 102-43 53-101 101-63 101-11. Rajkumar(Kar) bt Sankeeth Saurabh (Bh) 101-17 101-69 100-76. Ketan Chawla (Mp) bt Bhuvaneshwaran (TN) 100(52)-95 102-43 101-72.

Group D
Dhruv Sitwala(PSPB) bt Abhineet Sharma(MP) 100(66 unfinished break)-48 100-51, 101-06. Subrat Das (Ori) bt Akram Khan( WB) 100-55 101-92 64-101 101-85. Arun Agarwal (Mah) bt Arif Akhtar (Chd) 102-77 62-101 102-77 101-63.

Group E
Sourav Kothari (PSPB) bt Kankan Shamsi (UP) 3-0 101(53)-80(58) 102-67 100-76. Rupesh Shah(PSPB) bt Shivam Arora (BH) 101(83)-03 100(90 unfinished break)-69, 101-63. Aditya Agarwal (Rlys) bt Abhishek Saini (Har) 101-0 101-20 101-35.

Group F
Ashok Shandilya (Rlys) bt Amit Sharma (Del) 101-12 101-75 100-56.