Brimming with confidence, Sourav Kothari of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) was clinical and precise with his potting and breezed past Laxman Rawat, also of PSPB, racing to a 7-2 victory in the best-of-13-frame final of the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) All India Snooker Open ‘Baulkline’ 2022 on Saturday.
Kothari, who had recently won both the snooker and billiards titles in the Pacific International Championship in Melbourne, was rock solid and charged to a comfortable 95-17, 37-75, 64-05, 70-77, 116-01, 124-05, 70-23, 91-50, and 71-39 victory.
The 37-year-old Kothari from Kolkata compiled a break of 65 (1st frame), 58 (4th), 83 (5th) and a century effort of 107 in the sixth, while Rawat managed a solitary break of 63 in winning the fourth on the respotted black.
The Kolkata cueist, in the process, avenged his quarterfinal defeat to Laxman in the Khar Gymkhana tournament early last month.
Kothari showed great touch as he struck the balls perfectly and his shot selection was of the top order. He carefully studied all the options before attempting his pots and his safety approach was also excellent, which put his rival under pressure and enabled him to hold the upper hand throughout.
In contrast, India’s number eight Rawat seemed a bit jaded and drained out after his 6-4 semifinal win against National Champion Ishpreet Singh Chadha in the semifinal. Rawat had his chances but struggled and was not able to capitalise on the chances that came his way.
The match started on an even keel as Kothari and Rawat shared the opening four frames to finish the first session at 2-all.
Kothari compiled a 65-point break in winning the first frame but then lost the second. He once again came good to pocket the third and grab a 2-1 lead.
The fourth turned out to be a close affair as Rawat constructed a neat 63 break, but Kothari stayed calm and made a strong reply with a 58-run to narrow the lead. Thereafter, both players were a bit cautious and a safe approach came into play. Kothari with clever tactics managed to marginally nudge ahead to lead 64-63 and was required to pot the last two balls on the table to win the frame. He managed to sink the pink but missed the black and Rawat did well to take the black and force a black-ball decider and then went on to pocket the black to win the frame.
However, after the resumption, Kothari won the next four frames to enjoy a 6-2 lead at the end of the second session. He then returned after the break and completed the formalities winning a scrappy ninth frame to secure his triumph.
Earlier, Rawat produced a late charge to send National champion Ishpreet Singh Chadha of Maharashtra crashing out by clinching a come-from-behind 6-4 win in the second semifinal which finished late on Friday evening.
Final: Sourav Kothari (PSPB) beat Laxman Rawat (PSPB) 7-2 (95(65)-17, 37-75, 64-05, 70(58)-77(63), 116(83)-01, 124(107)-05, 70-23, 91-50, 71-39).
Semifinal: Laxman Rawat (PSPB) beat Ishpreet Singh Chadha (MAH) 6-4 (08-83(75), 78(50)-40, 12-78, 49-76, 114(71)-11, 119(46,64)-1, 33-73, 62-0, 77-9, 74-30).