THE Dar es Salaam Open Snooker defending champion Raju Kanabar maintained his fine form to book his place in the third round of this year's tournament after ousting Sumani Mandalia by 2-1 frames at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club on Wednesday evening.
However, Kanabar faced a stiff opposition from his DGC club-mate to set a third round match against Murtazar Alibhai of Annadil Burhani. Mandalia had a positive start to the game in which he took an early 49-20 lead against the champion, before finishing the first frame in an imperious 64-34 win.
In the second set Kanabar came rejuvenated and played like a wounded animal to avoid an early exit disappointment. He won the frame by 64-21 to take the game to a decider, which was a seesaw affair as both players fought to the bitter end. Kanabar said:
"The game was very tough and very close," "Like I said before, I'm the defending champion, I will give my 100 per cent performance to get to the final were I always belong," he said. Kanabar will test Alibhai challenge in the third round match that is scheduled for next Tuesday.
The day also saw Murtazar Alibhai, Munish Khattar and Abraham Sykes joining those in the third round. Alibhai progressed to the next round of the tournament at the expense of club-mate Imran Essajee, in another second round match on Wednesday night. He won it by 2-1.
Like Kanabar, he also lost the first frame before awakening in the last two frames to win the game. Earlier, Manish Khattar of DGC overcame a stiff challenge from Annadil Burhani's Mohamed Pothwalla in the second round match to win it by straight forward 2-0 frames.
Khattar has set a third round match against Abraham Sykes who went through by virtue of walk-over following a no show by opponent Husafa Jaferjee. Although he won the match straight forward, Khattar admit that the game was close and was lucky to go through.
Sykes also predicted tough third round encounter against Khattar early next week and said he is a tough contender to play with: "I easily won my first round match and Wednesday got walk-over. I have trick game ahead of me, but I am ready for that." The tournament takes Maulid holiday break on Friday and weekend as usual and will continue on Monday.