Devendra Joshi and Dhruv Sitwala scored fluent back-to-back wins while Rupesh Shah suffered defeat against Englishman Mike Russell on the opening day of the Time-Format event in the IBSF-DY Patil Vidyapeeth World Billiards Championship in Pune on Tuesday.
Defending Time format champion Pankaj Advani and veteran Geet Sethi had only one match for the day and the two made no mistakes in winning them at ease at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana Club.
First Sitwala defeated Korea's Min Hu Baek 1135-394 and then beat Billy Bousfield of England 1088-547 in the Group C league matches.
Logged in the same group as Russell, Joshi, who faced reverse early on the Point-Format, made a blistering start by defeating another Korean Chul Ho Hwang 1515-349 with two double century breaks and then thrashed Abdul Omar of Sri Lanka 1364-410 for a perfect end.
Newly crowned Point-Format world champion Russell was back to the basics in the classical play and showed four days of 'frame play' hadn't affected him as he pummelled wild-card Indian Rupesh Shah 1269-856, scoring a massive break of 774. Russell was at his splendid best and showed no signs of fatigue in scripting that amazing seven-ton break to put Rupesh on the back-foot from the start.
Later in the afternoon session, Russell put out yet another huge break worth 697 in beating Chul Ho Hwang of Korea 1339-195. The Korean could do nothing but watch in amazement the way Russell took control of the table with his top table fluency. He had just 17 visits to the table that clearly indicated the control he had on the game.
Also scoring two wins was Bhaskar Balachandra, who first beat Tae Hoon Jung of Korea 1043-335 and then overcame a tedious match against his teammate Alok Kumar 838-759. There were 37 visits to the table by Bhaskar while Alok got a chance 36 times, but both resorted to safety play more rather than keeping the flow of the game.
Ashok Shandilya too scored two wins in Group A, but on both occasions he looked rusty to say the least. Playing against Aidan Murray, Shandilya won 806-447, while against Phil Mumford, he almost escaped a reverse before winning 744-707.
In the afternoon session matches, Sethi defeated Kyaw Oo of Myanmar 1309-724, while Advani also had a Myanmarese, Nay Thway Oo, as an opponent and won 1481-636.