Quadri Aruna continued his historic run at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships on Friday by claiming a 4-3 win over Kristian Karslson of Sweden in a seven game, keenly-contested thriller (11-9, 5-11, 13-11, 5-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6) to book a record-equalling quarter-final berth in Houston.
With the win, Quadri becomes the first African to make the last eight in the history of the championships.
In a match that ebbed and flowed from the first set, Quadri appeared to hold the edge at the start seeing off Karlston 11-9 in the first set as the Swede sought his bearings in the match. Things began to change in the second set as the Swede warmed into the match and quickly tied it at 1-1.
While Quadri was the better player in the third game, the African-record-maker was pegged back twice on game points by Karlston who came up with some big winners. Nevertheless, Quadri stayed strong to eventually wrap up the third game 13-11 for a 2-1 lead.
The 4th and 5th games were a blur for Quadri as momentum shifted to the Swedish player who fended off Quadri’s returns, piling immense pressure on the African in rallies and on short balls to claim two consecutive games, one of which saw Quadri slipping twice in the last points of the 5th game to gift Karlston a 3-2 advantage.
Going into the sixth game at a disadvantage, Quadri was able to draw some strength from the loud chants from the crowd to tie things 3-3 enroute to claiming a historic win in the deciding set which ended 11-6.
Quadri remains Africa’s lone representative at the championships and he faces another Swedish player, Truls Moregard, in the quarterfinal on Saturday.