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Young Nikhil, Himanshu to clash for snooker title

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Mumbai : Himanshu Jain and Nikhil Saigal, both pulled through tough and tense semi-finals encounters to set up a meeting in the finals of the Matunga Gymkhana 9-Red Open Handicap Snooker Tournament 2017. Both the semi-final matches witnessed engrossing battles.

First in a battle among equals, Jain (+3 handicap) overcame Yasin Merchant (+3 handicap) by four frames to three. In the second semi-final, young talent Nikhil (+14 handicap) prevailed over Rishabh Thakkar (+14 handicap) also by a 4-3 verdict.

The 22-year-old Nikhil started confidently against his senior opponent Thakkar and with a neatly constructed break of 43 ran away with the first frame. Nikhil had one more good effort of 33 which helped him to level the frame scores at 2-all. He lost the fifth frame and trailed 2-3, but he showed strong nerves and the courage to put up a fight in the last two frames and managed to win both to clinch a hard-fought 64(43)-14, 46-48, 22-62, 69(33)-43, 38-64, 58-44, 56-45 win.


Meanwhile, Jain and Yasin were engaged in a tense tussle for supremacy, but the fight did not see too much of fireworks from the two seasoned players. Yasin started brightly by taking the first two frames before Jain snatched the next three to nose ahead at 3-2. The Khar Gymkhana player Yasin replied back by winning the sixth frame to tie the frames scores at 3-all and take the match to the deciding frame. Jain seemed to have saved his best for last as he compiled a break of 48 to take the decider and complete a 40-52, 35-56, 38-10, 48-04, 63(40)-21, 21-56, 68(48)-28 victory.

The former two-time Asian Snooker champion, Yasin who constructed a break of 87 in the earlier round stands a chance to win the prize for the highest break in the tournament.