Defending champion Sourav Kothari defeated multiple-time World Champion Mike Russell in the semi-final and book his second consecutive World Billiards final in Melbourne on Sunday. Kothari’s dominance was such that Russell conceded defeat with 45 minutes remaining in the four-hour contest.
With 45 minutes to go in the game, Kothari’s lead had stretched to over 600, which was more than what Russell could overcome given the time. In the end, the scoreline read 1090-594 with Kothari’s breaks of 205, 195, 175, 128 and 103, compared to Russell’s 247, 131 and 121.
After starting proceedings on a high note, Russell was left rattled by Kothari’s break of 195 in reply to a break of 247, which brought the Kolkata lad to parity in the scoreline just before the mid-session interval. From there on, in the second session, it was Kothari all the way as he dealt successive blows to the Englishman with breaks of 205, 175 and 103 in a matter of just over an hour. The rampage gave him a huge lead of nearly 600 points and reduced Russell to a mere spectator before he eventually conceded the match with still 45 minutes remaining.
Russell was not shy of complimenting Kothari for his extraordinary display of high-quality Billiards. The Englishmen were on the receiving end of Kothari’s punishing mood as, earlier in the day, he had sailed past Rob Hall 1076-484 in the quarter-final round.
On Saturday, Kothari will meet Peter Gilchrist of Singapore — who had defeated David Causier 1183-1023 in the other semi-final — in a repeat of last year’s world billiards final.