Pankaj Advances in India

Pankaj Advani made it double delight for the home pair after the Indian beat Marcus Campbell 4-1 in the last 64 of the Indian Open.

Advani joins compatriot Aditya Mehta in the second round after the latter booked his place with a tight victory over Peter Ebdon on Monday.

The brace of wins is a huge boost to the tournament, in its inaugural year being staged in New Dehli.

Both Advani and Mehta have proudly flown their nation’s flag over the last number of years for the sport and their success has played a significant role in India landing its maiden ranking event bow on the Main Tour.

Prior to the event, Advani would not have been considered the favourite against his Scottish opponent, ranked almost 50 places higher than in him the world standings.

However, Campbell, along with several other players, had fallen foul to sickness, presumably from food poisoning, and was clearly at a disadvantage from the outset.

That said, Advani still had to go out and win the game, and that is exactly what he did – compiling a magical 134 break, the highest of the event so far, in the penultimate frame to set up the triumph.

Advani’s reward is a meeting with recent Ruhr Open champion Mark Allen, after the Northern Irishman comfortably saw off Nigel Bond, likewise 4-1.

Elsewhere, it was a mixed day for Dublin duo Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien.

O’Brien comfortably eased past Alex Davies in another 4-1 scoreline but former world champion Doherty went down 4-2 to Mike Dunn despite making a ton.

Most of the big-name players played well and progressed with Mark Selby, John Higgins, Stephen Maguire and Stuart Bingham all recording simple victories.

There were two deciding frame thrillers with Ratchayothin Yotharuck edging fellow Thai James Wattana 4-3 while Tom Ford came from 3-2 behind to slip past Jamie Jones.

Finally, Gary Wilson of England continued his promising form this season with a 4-0 drubbing of two-time ranking event winner Dominic Dale.

As noted, there has been a lot said about the health condition of some of the players.

While sympathy goes out to the, somewhat, bad luck of falling ill on the eve of a tournament, questions must be asked regarding their preparation.

The players have been provided with five-star luxury accommodation free of charge, so their immediate surrounding should be comfortable.

Whether they venture out into the city or not to taste the culture and the cuisine is their prerogative but everybody who is anybody should be aware of the dangers of eating unknown foods in exotic countries – especially with a big tournament on the horizon.

Snooker isn’t the first sport to visit India and it’s rare that you see the English cricketers complaining or the world’s tennis or golf stars.

I’m not implying that these players weren’t badly prepared, but merely suggesting that the warning signs are there and that caution ought to have been applied.

Regardless, conditions, both internally, on the table and in the arena, and externally, with how one deals with any spare time, is all part and parcel of a regular tournament set-up.

These vary from event to event and from country to country so if you fall foul of these conditions, whether bad luck plays a part or not, is simply a component of being a professional sportsman.

Today sees the field whittled down to the last 16 and there are plenty of ties to look out for.

Advani versus Allen and Mehta’s match with Hammad Miah are two to look out for of course, but the clash of the day must surely be between Marks Selby and Williams.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here

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