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Kanetkar wins, Abhinn loses

Last updated on: August 17, 2004 00:24 IST
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India had mixed luck in the men's singles badminton tournament at the Athens Games on Monday, with Nikhil Kanetkar winning his first round match and Abhinn Shyam Gupta losing his.

The 25-year-old Kanetkar, playing in his maiden Olympics, beat the 44th ranked Sergio Llopis of Spain 15-7, 13-15, 15-13 in 66 minutes at the Goudi Olympic Hall and made it to the last 16..

The southpaw next meets former World champion Peter Gade of Denmark for a place in the last eight.

Gade thrashed Chinese Taipei's Yu-Hsiu Chien 15-6, 15-1 in his first round outing.

Abhinn fizzled away after a good first set, in which he rallied from 5-10 and 12-13, and went down to Tae Sang Park of Korea 12-15, 0-15.

Kanetkar, ranked 48th in the world, looked a bit shaky at the start and conceded the first two points. But once he got into a groove he ran away with the first game in 15 minutes.

The Indian looked as if he would cruise home after establishing a 4-0 lead in the second game, but Llopis, ranked four places above him, clawed back into the match with some brilliant cross-court smashes.

Kanetkar saved two game points but could not stop the Spaniard from taking the tie into the decider.

The Pune-born shuttler, who had defeated Llopis in the Mauritius Open early this year, was forced on the backfoot in the final game. But trailing 6-9 he engaged his opponent in long rallies to wrap up the game in 23 minutes.

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