All India Snooker Open: Laxman Rawat edges past Aditya Mehta to win title

Laxman Rawat of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) finally tasted success as he overcame his teammate Aditya Mehta 9-6 in an entertaining best-of-17-frame final of the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) All India Snooker Open 2023 here on Monday.

Rawat, who had finished runner-up losing to Sourav Kothari (PSPB) in the final of the last edition, came up trumps in the Rs 13 lakh prize-money event played at the NSCI billiards hall here.

Rawat was richer by Rs 3 lakh, while Mehta received a cash prize of Rs 1.5 lakh.

The summit clash contested between the accomplished Indian Oil cueists Rawat and Mehta witnessed top-quality positive play as both were aggressive and went for their shots and there was not a single dull moment throughout the 15 frames.

However, the 31-year-old Rawat, who was a little bit more consistent, managed to wrest the initiative and enjoy a 5-3 lead at the break.

On resumption, Rawat was a bit scratchy and Mehta did well to win two frames to draw level at 5-all and stay in the fight. But, Rawat came roaring back winning the next three frames to surge to an 8-5 lead, getting within a distance of winning one more frame to settle the issue.

Mehta managed to pocket the 14th frame, but could not stop Rawat from winning the next to clinch victory with the frame scores reading 0-110, 74-42, 83-7, 0-89, 104-0, 55-87, 87-0, 112-0, 28-89, 54-62, 69-1, 83-45, 89-24, 20-65, and 62-12 in favour of the latter.

Rawat who was in good nick was unfortunate to narrowly miss on constructing the maximum on the eighth frame. He miscued when he attempted to pot a not-easy last 15th red and his break terminated at 112 points. Besides the massive effort, Rawat’s other efforts were 69 (2nd frame), 83 (3rd), 98 (5th), 55 (6th), 46 (12th) and 89 (13th), while Mehta compiled breaks of 48 and 53 (1st), 89 (4th), 60 (9th) and 59 (14th).

“Actually this is my first major title after 2-3 years. I’m very glad to be on the winning side this time, because you know if you are capable of winning tournaments like this and if you are not winning anything it’s quite frustrating at times. I’m glad that I have finally won,” a relieved Rawat admitted after the win.

Results – Final: Laxman Rawat (PSPB) beat Aditya Mehta (PSPB) 9-6 (0-110(48,53), 74(69)-42, 83(79)-7, 0-89(89), 104(98)-0, 55(55)-87(50), 87-0, 112(112)-0, 28-89(60), 54-62, 69-1, 83(46)-45, 89(89)-24, 20-65(59), 62-12).

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