Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna remains the only surviving African player at the first official World Table Tennis (WTT) Tournament taking place in Doha after he defeated Indian National Champion Sathiyan Gnanasekaran 3-0 (11-7, 11-4, 11-8) to berth in the second round of the men’s singles.
The way and manner the Nigerian dismissed the newly-crowned Indian national champion confirmed the quality of Aruna again as he dominated the match from the start to the end.
The win came like a whirlwind to the Indian superstar who had boasted of his readiness to send the Nigerian packing in the first round. But he was silent by the defeat which came as a surprise even to his coach who was behind him throughout the encounter.
An elated Aruna described the win as awesome. “I am happy because everything seemed to work well for me in the match. I had taken my time to study his game and everything I picked worked well for me in the encounter. I am looking forward to the next match and I hope to approach every match with all seriousness,”Aruna said after the match.
With this win, Aruna will now face a familiar face in Portugal’s Joao Geraldo who had a walk-over over Slovakia’s Yang Wang who was disqualified for breaking COVID-19 protocol put in place by the organisers.
In the women’s singles, it was not a good outing for six-time African women champion Dina Meshref of Egypt as she was beaten by Korea Republic’s Hyowon Suh 3-1 (12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5).
Meshref and Omar Assar are still in the race in the mixed doubles event of the championship.
The $200,000 prize money WTT Star Contender events will take place over six days and WTT Contender events will deliver four days of action, with each event featuring men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles competitions.