Chennai: Malkeet Singh emerged as the new National 6-Red snooker men’s champion after beating his Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) colleague E Pandurangaiah 7-5 in a keenly-contested best-of-13 frames final, following a morale-boosting come-from-behind 6-5 victory over favourite and 26-time IBSF world champion Pankaj Advani (PSPB) in the last-four stage.
Pandurangaiah himself came into Saturday’s title round high on confidence after putting it past fancied Aditya Mehta (PSPB) 6-4 in the other semifinal, but it was former champion Advani’s upset, after having all but sealed the match at 5-3, that left the Indian cue sports community stunned.
Malkeet won the final three frames 59-0, 43-1, 67-13 in spectacular fashion against Advani to record the biggest upset in the ongoing 90th National Billiards & Snooker Championships at the Nehru Indoor Stadium.
“Malkeet held his nerve and got the better of me towards the end,” said Advani, former champion and last edition’s runner-up, who subsequently lost the third-place match to Mehta.
In women’s 6-Red snooker, defending champion Vidya Pillai of Karnataka headlines a strong quarterfinal field that includes the current IBSF world U-21 snooker champion Keerthana Pandian (Karnataka) and runner-up Anupama Ramachandran (Tamil Nadu).