Indian Open snooker: Mehta tames King to advance

Mumbai: Aditya Mehta kept his nerves to pull off a 4-3 win over the higher ranked Mark King of England and enter the second round of the Indian Open World ranking snooker tournament here on Wednesday.

The 29-year old Mehta, ranked 50, could have won comfortably, but a miss on the black in the fifth frame saw King staging a recovery to eventually push the match into the decider seventh.

In scoring his first win over King in five meetings, Mehta brought cheer to the home fans, who had been disappointed after the exit of six Indian wild card entrants, including national champion Pankaj Advani on Tuesday.

Mehta was quick off the blocks and raced to a 3-0 lead with breaks of 30 and 43 in the first, 52 in the second and 64 in the third, but King, ranked 33, was far from finished as he took the fourth on a run of 69.

In the fifth, King turned on the aggression by breaking the bunch of reds wide open to craft a break of 50 before losing position on a red which he still attempted and missed.

Mehta gradually picked up some points swiftly and with three reds on the table, trailed 18-50. King played a loose safety shot, which left Mehta in a good position to make a frame and a match-winning break.

Mehta cleared up to pink with a break of 38 and positioned well for the black, leading by six points However, he missed the regulation pot and left the black in the jaw of the pocket for King to sink it for the frame.

King went on to pocket the sixth with the help of small breaks to tie the match at 3-3. Mehta then made the best of an early opening in the seventh to post a break of 45 to effectively seal the frame and the match.

“Obviously, I am hugely relieved to get through my first round and especially to keep the Indian interest alive after the exit of six of our wild card entrants,” said Mehta.

“I want to take one match at a time. I matched King in quality and I managed to push back the black that I missed in the fifth. I am happy that it will not come back to haunt me,” he added.

“I will go into the next match with more confidence as I am playing well and (I am) fit both physically and mentally,” said Mehta who meets World No.8 Ricky Walden of England next.

The scores:

Aditya Mehta (India) bt Mark King (England) 4-3: 82-07, 60 (52)-17, 78 (64)-09, 25-104 (69), 56-57, 45-76, 76-04.