Alok Kumar shocked by Manudev

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Mumbai, Jan 11 (PTI) Former national champion and currentIndia number five Alok Kumar of ONGC frittered away acommanding lead to go down to Dr I H Manudev of Karnataka in athrilling Group D league tie of the Ekta World Shyam ShroffMemorial All India Open Invitation Snooker Tournament today.

Kumar, national snooker titlist in 2007, led 3-1 in thebest-of-seven frames elite handicap round robin tie beforedropping the last three frames to go down to his rival, rankedsixth in India.

Manudev had upset seasoned Railways cueist Rafath Habibin his opening group tie.

Alok later made amends when he overcame Devendra Joshi4-3 in another close match to keep his hopes of a berth in thequarter finals alive.

After leading 2-0, Kumar lived dangerously as Joshisurged to a surprise 3-2 advantage before losing his way inthe crucial sixth and seventh frames.

Joshi, who crashed to his second loss from as many ties,should have snatched the match but he bungled a sitter blackwhile in the lead that allowed a relieved Alok to take itaway.

Elsewhere, Asian Games team silver medallist YasinMerchant, who plays for hosts Khar Gymkhana, kicked off hiscampaign with a 4-0 win over Deepak Khubchandani in Group A.

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