New Delhi: National champion Pankaj Advani won both his group A matches on the opening day of the world snooker qualifying tournament here on Monday.
Advani got the better of Dharminder Lily 4-3 and followed it up with a 4-1 victory over Asian Games gold-medallist Rafath Habib 4-1.
The Advani-Lily clash saw a see-saw battle as the two clinched alternate frames till the decider.
Under intense pressure, the youngest national champion kept his cool and recorded a formidable break of 68 in the seventh and final frame to come through his opener.
Later in the day, Advani blanked Habib to place himself in a comfortable position for the semi-final berth.
The out-of-form Habib also lost his match against former national champion Alok Kumar 1-4 to virtually end his chances of making the last four.
Fresh from his triumph in the S. Chand invitational tournament on Sunday, Kumar was on top of his game from the very first frame as he registered a break of 84. He followed it up with a clearance break of 114 in the third to take a 3-0 lead.
Group A: Alok Kumar bt Rafath Habib 4-1 (105-0, 53-29, 122-11, 39-100, 52-9); Pankaj Advani bt Dharminder Lily 4-3 (68-46, 1-91, 73-9, 0-87, 81-0, 26-67, 68-8); Advani bt Habib 4-1 (59-73, 76-34, 117-2, 69-5, 74-19).
Group B: Manan Chandra bt Siddharth Parikh 4-0 (63-42, 70-54, 62-29, 69-17); Yasin Merchant bt Varun Taneja 4-0 (69-0, 88-0, 69-44, 88-18).