Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri who is the only surviving African player at the 2019 ITTF World Championships holding in Budapest, Hungary, is sure to face his biggest challenge so far when he takes on world number one – China’s Fan Zhendong in the third round (last 32) of the men’s singles event.
The Nigerian put up an excellent showing against Iran’s Nima Alamian to become the only African player remaining in the competition following the elimination of Egypt’s Dina Meshref from the women’s singles in the second round by Canada’s Mo Zhang.
The Egyptian duo of Omar Assar and Ahmed Saleh had exited the men’s singles after losing to Portugal’s Joao Geraldo and Czech Republic’s Lubomir Jancarik in the first round.
Assar squandered a 3-1 lead to lose 4-3 to the Portuguese while veteran Saleh was beaten 4-2 by Jancarik.
Meshref had earlier showed incredible bottle in her first round tie against India’s Archana Girish Kamath to come from 3-0 down to beat the Indian teenager 4-3 (8-11, 8-11, 17-19, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4). Her compatriots – Yousra Helmy and Reem El-Eraky also fell in the first round to their opponents.
Meshref’s run as the only female African star in the competition was however ended by the Canadian with a 4-3 (11-7, 10-12, 11-6, 11-4, 6-11, 7-11, 11-3) win on Tuesday.
African champion, Aruna Quadri lived up to expectation in his match against his Iranian opponent in the second round having dismissed Belgium’s Florent Lambient 4-0 in the first round.
Quadri enjoyed a tough start against the Iranian who started brightly and won the first set 11-9. But Quadri’s trademark powerful forehand and nimble movement around table swung the match to his side as he triumphed 4-3 to set up a mouth-watering clash with the world number one.
Quadri clash against world number one China’s Fan Zhendong – yet to drop a game in his two matches in the men’s singles – comes up today on table two and the determined and giant-killing Nigerian says he’ll relish the challenge of dueling with the best player in the world.