Mehta Mounts Indian Challenge

Aditya Mehta delighted home support as he saw off the challenge of former world champion Peter Ebdon to reach the Last 32 of the Indian Open in New Dehli.

The 27 year-old from Maharashtra, hoping to impress alongside compatriot Pankaj Advani in the maiden ranking event staged in India, withstood Ebdon’s fightback to prevail 4-3.

Mehta led 2-1 after a succession of close, scrappy frames before a 122 brought him to within one of progression.

However, Ebdon dug deep to put pressure on his young opponent and when he came from 50-odd points behind in the sixth to force a decider the writing seemed on the wall.

Mehta, though, was determined not to see his opportunity to impress for the first time in front of his family, who were in the crowd, go to waste and he duly responded with a magnificent 127 century break to set up a clash with England’s Hammad Miah.

This will be a complete reversal for Mehta, who will go into this encounter as the firm favourite against an inexperienced rookie on the professional circuit.

Miah, to his credit, has performed quite well on his debut season despite somewhat dramatically surrendering 3-0 leads in European Tour events not once but twice.

But the 20 year-old has perhaps begun to grow a harder resistance after he came from behind to edge Chen Zhe in a close decider 4-3.

Elsewhere, Neil Robertson’s incredible run of scoring form continued as he compiled a hat-trick of 103 breaks in a 4-1 defeat of Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.

The world no.1 has now hit an outstanding 13 tons in just four matches, bringing his total for the season up to 31 already.

At this rate, Robbo is on course to break the single season record of 61, set during the last campaign by Judd Trump.

Centuries, of course, only win you one frame, but it is clear that the Australian is enjoying a hot streak on the baize right now.

Where Saengkham failed, his countryman Dechawat Poomjaeng enjoyed better fortune as he overcame Ryan Day 4-2.

Poomjaeng’s victory set up a clash with China’s Liang Wenbo, who ousted Ireland’s David Morris by the same scoreline.

Morris started the season with confidence having rejoined the tour via Q-School but has run into difficult opponents of late and his progress has hit a minor stumbling block.

There is a long way to go in the season, though, and the Kilkenny cueist, in the medium term, will undoubtedly have set a target of first breaking into the world’s top 64.

It was a good opening day for the Chinese, who as a nation have enjoyed considerable success of late, with Shanghai Masters champion Ding Junhui prevailing against Barry Pinches in a close encounter and Zhang Anda defeating Alan McManus 4-1.

The remainder of the winners on the first day were all English, as Mark Davis, Michael Holt, Ricky Walden and Mark Joyce all advanced relatively comfortably.

Today, the Last 64 concludes with the likes of Mark Selby, John Higgins and Mark Allen in action, as well as the second big home hope in Pankaj Advani and Irish duo Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here

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