Ace cueist Pankaj Advani closed in on defending his 6-red snooker title as he earned a berth in the knockout draw, winning three group games on the trot at the Asian 6-Red Snooker and Team Championships here.

The 16-time world champion Advani overcome a challenge from Thailand's Phaithoon Phonbun with a comfortable 5-2 win, before seeing off Ali Roshanikiya of Iran 5-3.

Advani though found himself in a spot of bother at 1-3 against Omar Ali of Iraq but he made one of his famous comebacks by procuring the next four frames to storm into the last-16 stage, which commences on Saturday.

The other Indians in the fray had mixed outing with Faisal Khan, Pushpender Singh and Kamal Chawla — all on one win and one loss so far.

Their fates for qualifying to the knockout stages hang in the balance and will be determined by their remaining league matches.