Tuesday, 17 July, 2007

Sonu, Sancheti are the top guns

B D Narayankar


PUNE: If somebody is slithering his cue through his dexterous fingers to perfection, potting colors at regular intervals and winning huge breaks consistently, it must be Sonu Gurudatta, and he is one of the favourites to win PGI Snooker and Billiards Championship.

Gurudatta has everything in his repertoire. His self-belief is amazing. “He has had a good outing in the tournament and a good chance to lift the title,” Crazol D’Souza of Poona Goan Institute (PGI) told Maharashtra Herald on the eve of the last sixteen round.

One of the best reasons for Gurudatta to leave his stamp on the tournament is his consistency. Last two years has been good for him. “He had reached PYC Hindu Gymkhana Snooker Championship finals twice and laid his claim on one of them,” Crazol said.

Even as snooker-lovers are rooting for Gurudatta, they well know it will be a herculean task for him to prevail upon other top contenders. Before climbing the summit, Gurudatta has tough battles on his hands. He has to cross hurdles in the form of Sachin Sancheti (147 Club), Harish Talavde (Mischiefmakers), Anthony D’Gama (PGI), Yogesh Sharma (Poona Club) and Tony D’Souza (PGI) among others.

Sancheti is another favourite. He has been deadly in league stages pulling off some thrilling encounters. “He can be destructive and defeat anybody on a given day. He is good at potting and winning 30-40 breaks regularly. On this level, it is something amazing. Equally good are Talavde, D’Gama, Sharma and D’Souza, all of them have the ability to raise their bar to shock Gurudatta and Sancheti,” Crazol said.

George Fernandez also has been performing consistently, overwhelming better players in straight sets. At times, he had to sweat it out to win close battles. That, however, would have done a world of good for him – staying focused and winning at critical points of the game.

It will not be a surprise if Sameer Sheikh too turns the applecart in his favour. He has had a good outing in the tournament. His runaway victory against Jaideep Deshpande, another qualifier for pre-quarters, is something to cherish. He took delight in the rare moment of winning 61-break points, highest so far in the tournament. “Beating a player like Jaideep was not simple. He made it look simple, though, by capitalizing on Jaideep’s mistakes,” Crazol said.

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