Indian cueist Pankaj Advani rallied to win the IBSF World Billiards Championship title for a staggering 26th world title, beating compatriot Sourav Kothari in the final at Doha. Trailing 26-180 in the first hour, Advani rallied to defeat the 2018 world champion Kothari 1,000–416 in a rematch of last year’s title clash in Kuala Lumpur.
Playing back-to-back matches, Kothari took the initial lead and was going strong but faltered on a couple of easy chances to allow Advani recover from the deficit. From there, it got a little scrappy with both players exchanging visits between them and a couple of 150-plus breaks by Advani helped him stretch the lead while Kothari could not fully capitalise on the chances he got. Advani fired in a break of 214, the highest of the match, and looked unstoppable after that. Describing the feeling as “unreal”, Advani said: “I have won before so I know how it feels, but to repeat it year on year is what makes all those hours of work on skill, body and mind totally worth it. To me, consistency is the hallmark of success and continuing to bring home world titles for the country is what drives me the most.”
Kothari blamed fatigue for squandering his early lead. "My semifinals stretched on for almost five hours and I had to play the final with just a little more than an hour's break. So I guess I was fatigued," Kothari said.