18th February, 2014
Like a Trojan soldier, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri defied all odds on Tuesday to surmount highly-rated Chinese Taipei’s Wang-Wei Peng at the ongoing International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour tagged: “Qatar Open” holding in Doha.
However, the woes of his compatriot, Kazeem Makanjuola continued after he was pummeled by Singapore’s Zhaoxu Xin in the first group match of the men’s singles event of the competition.
A confident Quadri never allowed what befell him in Kuwait last week to affect his performance in Qatar, as he ensured that his teenage opponent never had an upper hand in the explosive encounter.
From the start of the game, Quadri never hid his intention to make a mark in the competition as he won the first matches at 12-10, 11-5. But the Chinese Taipei star recovered to win the third match at 13-11. Quadri, however, increased the lead with another 11-4 win.
Not ready to surrender the game to the Nigerian, the Chinese Taipei. teenager again claimed the victory in the fifth match at 11-8. Fired by the determination to win the match, Quadri wasted no time to end the encounter by winning the sixth match at 11-6 to record an emphatic 4-2 win.
Quadri’s last group match will be against Portugal’s Joao Montiero on Wednesday to decide the eventual winner of the group that will compete in the main draw.
“I am happy that I won the match in a four sets battle. I noticed a little improvement in my game but I am yet to receive service very well,” Quadri said.
He added: “I had never played against a Chinese Taipei player before and I was a bit jittery before the match but after picking the first five points in the first match, my nervousness disappeared. This alone gave me the confidence to put more efforts. I am excited with this victory. I’m looking forward to my next game on Wednesday.”
Meanwhile, left-handed Makanjuola could not get his rhythm when he confronted Singapore’s Xin as he had his hands full with a 4-0 loss to set up a last group match against Lagos Classics champion, Egypt’s Omar Assar.
Also on Wednesday, Nigeria’s duo of Quadri and Makanjuola will confront home boys – Qatar’s pair of Fahed Almughanne and Mohammed Alyafei in the preliminary round of the men’s doubles.
The Qatar Open is the highest prize money tournament in the ITTF World Tours with a total package of $500,000, while players that make it to the main draw in the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events will get $1,500 for their efforts. The winners of the Men’s and Women’s Singles events will receive $35,000 each with runners’ up getting $17,000 respectively.
No fewer than 200 players from 35 countries are participating in the five-day tournament, which is one of the Super Series in the ITTF World Tour.