Quadri Stuns Japanese Star To Reach Bulgaria Open Semi-Final

Aruna Quadri

 

Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri has stunned one of the most decorated Japanese stars in table tennis to reach the semi-final round of the ITTF World Tour tagged Bulgaria Open.

Being the last quarterfinal match in the men’s singles, the Bulgaria fans were treated to an exciting contest in Panagyurishte after the Nigerian hero knocks Japanese number 4 seed Jun Mizutani in a seven-game thriller.

Trailing 1-2 on games but Quadri is well known for his comebacks and his fighting spirit prevailed on this occasion, saving two game points in game four before going on to recover from 4-9 down to win game five 11-9.

Mizutani responded well to claim game six, forcing a decider. 9-6 down, Mizutani refused to give up the fight, going on to hold two match point opportunities.

However, Aruna Quadri showed nerves of steel, saving both points before going on to steal the win (8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 4-11, 13-11).

Portuguese qualifier, Marcos Freitas is also through to the last four of the championship after a fantastic victory over no.15 seed Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan.

At the start of play, it was the Chinese Taipei player who looked good for the win, claiming the opening game by an eight-point margin but Freitas also enjoyed his spells of dominance over the course of the match.

Ultimately it was game seven that produced the main story: 6-7 down Freitas opted to call a timeout, a decision that proved useful as the Portuguese star fought back to win the decider 11-9 and earn his spot in the penultimate round (3-11, 11-2, 11-3, 11-13, 4-11, 11-5, 11-9).

Japanese teenage sensation Tomokazu Harimoto also booked his place in the semi-finals of the men’s singles draw following a tight affair with fellow Japanese compatriot Takuya Jin.

Down 3-0 on the scoreboard, Jin needed to form a response and one did arrive with the qualifier pulling a game back. Then in game five Jin held game point advantage on two occasions but failed to convert as top seed Harimoto held his nerve, sealing the win by a 4-1 margin (11-7, 11-6, 14-12, 7-11, 13-11).

German Dimitrij Ovtcharov’s men’s singles run has concluded in the quarter-finals stage in Panagyurishte after the second seed lost out to world no.110 China’s Zhao Zihao in an exciting battle.

The 22-year-old pen-hold grip player from China started strongly and deservedly gained a healthy 2-0 lead.

Up against the ropes, Ovtcharov raised his performance, winning two of the next three games to reduce the deficit to 3-2. In game six, the two players gave it their all but there could only be one winner and that proved to be Zhao Zihao (11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9).

In the semifinal tie scheduled for Sunday August 18, Aruna Quadri will face China’s Zhao Zihao, while Portugal’s Marcos Freitas will take on Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto.

Aruna Quadri Pulls Out Of Qatar Open

Aruna Quadri, Tennis, Qatar Open, ITTF World TourAfrica’s leading tennis player, Aruna Quadri, has withdrawn from the men’s singles at the ITTF World Tour Qatar Open owing to a back injury.

He is scheduled to compete in qualification tournament which serves off on Tuesday, with the main event starting on Thursday, February 23.

The 28-year-old intends to partner Egypt’s Omar Assar in the men’s doubles competition, as the duo have their eyes set firmly on a place in the end of year grand finals.

Aruna and Assar face Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson in the first preliminary round of the qualification event.

The Karlssons are silver medallists at the 2012 European Championships.

African Table Tennis Federation Honours Segun Toriola

Segun Toriola, Olympic Games, Table TennisThe African Table Tennis Federation has honoured the continent’s most decorated player Segun Toriola at the ITTF Africa senior championships in Morocco.

The African table tennis body is recognising Toriola for putting table tennis on the world map as the first athlete in any sport in Africa to attend seven Olympic games.

The ITTF President, Khaled El-Salhy believes Toriola has what it takes to break his own record by making it to Tokyo 2020.

Mr El-Salhy also commended the player for being an inspiration to young players in Africa with his 100% commitment to the sport on and off the court.

Meanwhile, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed Nigeria’s men’s team have qualified for the 2018 world team championships holding in Sweden.

Egypt and Nigeria qualified based on their performance at the 2016 World Team Championships held in Malaysia in which they finished among the top 36 countries in the world.

Togo also secured its place after finishing second in the fourth division at the World Team Championship in Malaysia.

Others are Algeria, Congo Brazzaville, Tunisia, South Africa and Senegal.

Table Tennis: Egypt Reclaims Men’s Team Dominance

Table Tennis, ITTFEgypt has reclaimed the men’s table tennis team title it lost to Nigeria at the 2015 African Games after beating the West African giant 3-2 in the final of the 2016 ITTF Africa Senior Championship holding in Morocco.

The victory recorded by the Egyptian women team against Tunisia was not as sweet as the win the men’s team had over Aruna Quadri-inspired Nigerian side.

The encounter had the quality expected of it and the players gave the fans something to cheer throughout the match with Aruna Quadri showing his worth against the Omar Assar-led Egyptian side.

The trio of Segun Toriola, Bode Abiodun and Rio Olympic Games quarterfinalist, Aruna Quadri matched their Egyptian counterparts strength-for-strength and it was the same Mohamed El-Beiali that lost the final game at the 2015 African Games to give Nigeria a 3-2 win in Congo Brazzaville that saved the day for the North Africans as he won came from 2-0 down to beat veteran Segun Toriola 3-2 to give throw the Egyptian fans into ecstasy in the 3-2 win.

An excited Ahmed Saleh said: “We knew from the start of the match that Segun Toriola is a dangerous player and we planned that we could take the lead 2-1 and hoping that Omar Assar will defeat Aruna Quadri in the fourth game.

“Unfortunately Omar Assar lost and we were confident that Mohamed El-Beiali will deliver and I am so happy that he did it for us.

“This victory is sweet because that was our main mission in Morocco to reclaim our men’s team title which we lost to Nigeria at the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville.

“I am so happy that I am part of this team and I will cherish this victory for a long time.”

ITTF Ranking: Quadri Attains 29th In World, 1st In Africa

Aruna Quadri - ITTFNigeria’s Aruna Quadri has moved to 29th place in the latest ITTF ranking and also retains his top place as the highest ranked player in Africa.

Despite being inactive in the ITTF World Tour last month, Quadri with 2,393 points moved by one step to occupy his current position.

His continental rival, Egypt’s Omar Assar, dropped from 36 to 37 in the world.

Fortune also smile on former African Champion and the first African athlete to be competing in seven Olympic Games, Segun Toriola, who improved his world rating from 117 to 109, while Portugal-based Bode Abiodun also gained more points to improve from 185 to 179.

In the women’s ranking, Egypt’s Dina Meshref remains the best rated player from the continent despite dropping from 98 to 97.

The highest ranked Nigerian female player in the ranking is Edem Offiong, who improved her ranking from 242 to 230 while Olufunke Oshonaike, who was ranked 235 in March, has been taken off the world ranking for her inactivity in the last six months.Olufunke Oshonaike

In the Olympic Team ranking, Nigeria remain dominance in the men division despite dropping from 25 to 26 and the West Africa giant are still ahead of Egypt who are ranked 32.

But the North African are far ahead of Nigeria in the women team rating after occupying 31 while Nigeria is placing 40.

To decide the team that would represent the continent in the team event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Nigeria and Egypt would have to wait for the May ranking to know their fate.

But, as it is, Nigeria has an edge over Egypt in the men to qualify while Egypt has an upper hand over Nigeria in the women division.

Meanwhile, China’s Ma Long retained his position at the head of the Men’s World Rankings despite finishing second behind compatriot, Zhan Jike at the Kuwait Open.

It is the 14th consecutive ranking that has seen the 27 year-old head the list, since regaining the coveted position in March 2015 at the expense of colleague, Xu Xin.

Overall, it was the 44th time that Ma Long has appeared in top spot, a position he first secured in January 2010.

In the women’s world ratings, Liu Shiwen, Ding Ning and Zhu Yuling once again retained their top three places.

ITTF Confirms Lagos Open Prize Money

ITTFWorld table tennis ruling body, International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed the prize money for the 2016 Lagos World Tour.

According to the Director of Competition, Karl Jindrak, the Lagos Open, which is one of the Challenge Series tournaments in the ITTF calendar, will serve off on May the 18th to 22nd at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, with top players from different parts of the world expected to compete at the five-day tournament.

As the highest prize money tournament in the Challenge Series of the ITTF World Tour, players will jostle for $46,000 (about 13.8 million naira) this year with defending champion, Egypt’s Omar Assar making a return to Lagos after the humiliating defeat he suffered against Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri at the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup in Khartoum, Sudan.

Also, other top players from Egypt who have been part of the championship in the last three years are expected to return to Lagos in their bid to challenge for the prize money.

The ITTF has also listed six events for the competition and these include singles (men and women); doubles (men and women) as well as U-21 boys and girls.

Preliminary entry for the tournament has commenced while the final entry has been fixed for April 18 while no entries will be accepted after midnight on Monday 18th April 2016.

There are indications that top players from Europe and Asia will feature at this year’s tournament as they hope to earn world ranking points as well as make it to the end-of-the-year ITTF World Tour Finals.

Quadri Through To German Open Round Of 32

QuadriNigerian Table Tennis star, Aruna Quadri, has qualified for the main draw of the ITTF German Open.

This is coming after Quadri secured a comprehensive victory over Bobocica Mihai in the round of 64.

The world number 48 won all four games against his Italian opponent to advance to the next stage of the competition.

Another Nigerian, Abiodun Bode, is still in contention at the ITTF World Tour super series in Berlin.

He will play Kim Minseok of Korea for a place in the round of 32.

Quadri Makes Last Eight at Hungarian Open

QuadriNigeria’s Aruna Quadri has started his 2016 campaign on a good note after making the top eight in the men’s singles of the ITTF World Tour tagged the Hungarian Open.

The Nigerian, who was seeded number six for the tournament which had 32 players, started competing from the main draw. He defeated Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, Czech Republic’s Tomas Konecny as well as home boy, Daniel Kosiba to set up a quarterfinal clash against France’s Simon Gauzy.

A composed and determined Quadri was in fine form against most of his opponents beating Monteiro 4-0, Konecny 4-1 and Kosiba 4-1. He put up a good fight against the Frenchman as several unforced errors caused him a 4-2 loss to the European.

However, he combined well with his compatriot, Bode Abiodun in the men’s doubles as they fought hard from the qualifying round to make it to the main draw where they dismissed number five seed in the men’s doubles, Brazil’s Casuo Mazumoto and Thiago Monteiro 3-0 to berth in the quarterfinal.

Their run also ended in the quarter-finals as they lost to Chinese Taipei’s duo of Chuang Chih-Yuan / Huang Sheng-Sheng.

A satisfied Quadri attributed his fine form to the level of competitiveness at the French league and hoped for good results at the German Open which serves off on Wednesday January 27 in Berlin.

Quadri, Assar Impress In Men’s Doubles At Polish Open

QuadriThe partnership of Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Egypt’s Omar Assar produced an impressive display in the men’s doubles of the ITTF World Tour tagged Polish Open to finish among the top eight at the tournament.

Quadri and Assar started their campaigns from the preliminary stage where they shocked teams from India, France, and Hungary to qualify to the main draw of 16 teams.

The prowess took them further in the main draw when they caused one of the upsets, defeating the seventh seed duo of Portugal’s Marcos Freitas and Croatia’s Andrej Gacina, 11-4, 5-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3 to set up a quarterfinal tie against the difficult duo of Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro.

Apolonia and Monteiro had accounted for the exit of number two seed, China’s Zhan Jike and Fan Zhendong in the round of 16. But Quadri and Assar could not withstand the fiery style and pace of the European as they succumbed 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 to finish among the top eight in the men’s doubles.

In the men’s singles, African champion, Assar who has been seeded among the top 32 and playing from the main draw could not play more than a match as he fell 4-3 to Russia’s Alexander Shibaev.

Unlike Assar, Quadri made Nigeria proud when he showed exceptional skills against Sweden’s Karlsson Kristian with a 4-0 (11-7,11-6,11-9,11-9) thrashing of the Swedish star.

In the second round, the 2014 ITTF star player was unlucky to be drawn against world number two and tournament number two seed, China’s Xu Xin. As expected Quadri was no match to the Chinese star as he was walloped 4-11,4-11,4-11,7-11 to exit to the men’s single in the second round as the most successful African in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Quadri has described his partnership with his continental rival as the best, and looking forward to more partnership with Omar Assar.

Quadri Ready For ITTF World Tour In Poland

ITTF-quadriAfter a disappointing start in the French League, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri will this week return to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour in Warsaw, Poland.

Last week, Quadri could not save his French team, Morez from losing 4-zero to Chartres A.S in the elite league of the French Table Tennis League.

Quadri is seeded number 25 and he will start his campaign from the main draw of the men’s singles of the five-day tournament.

In the men’s doubles, the Nigerian will partner his continental arch-rival and friend, Egypt’s Omar Assar.

Nigerian Players Crash Out Of Singles Event At ITTF World Tour In Kuwait

Nigerian duo of Aruna Quadri and Kazeem Makanjuola have crashed out of the men’s singles event at the ongoing International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour tagged Kuwait Open.

Makanjuola was the first to say goodbye to the tournament after failing to win a game in his two matches against his French and Portuguese counterparts. The debutant at the ITTF World Tour lost to Frenchman Benjamin Brossier 5-11, 9-11, 8-11, 5-11, and suffered another defeat against Portugal’s Joao Monteiro 10-12, 7-11, 6-11, 7-11

Portugal-based Aruna Quadri started his campaign in group nine with a 13-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 win over Egypt’s Mohamed Elsobky but failed to progress after losing to Russia’s Alexey Liventsov 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 to exit the singles event.

Winner of the Lagos Table Tennis International Classics, Egypt’s Omar Assar could not advance to the main draw after a narrow loss to Singapore’s Zhaoxu Xin in an encounter that ended 11-9, 5-11, 11-4, 9-11, 7-11, 11-5, 9-11 having recorded a 4-2 win over Korea’s Chan-Hyeok Park in his first group match.

The only African player flying in the men’s singles is Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh, who won his two matches to seal a place in the last 64.

Speaking after his exit, Quadri admitted that he played well but that his opponent was more tactical in his approach to the game.

“Nothing went wrong during the match because I played better than  the first game that I won. I want to say that there was so much difference when compared to my performance in this same tour three years  ago. My opponent did not win an easy point. Before I used to have  difficult in receiving service but this year I was able to overcome  this. I hope to do better at the Qatar Open next week,” Quadri said.

The Nigerian representatives will be hoping for a better outing in the men’s doubles.

Mixed Fortunes for Nigerian Players at Kuwait ITTF World Tour

Nigerian players at the ongoing International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour, tagged Kuwait Open started their campaigns on mixed fortunes.

Aruna Quadri recorded an emphatic 4-0 win over Egypt’s Mohamed Elsobky, while Kazeem Makanjuola lost by the same score line to Frenchman Benjamin Brossier.

Quadri who played in Group Nine didn’t find his rhythm at the beginning against the Southpaw Egyptian, but eventually won the first game at 13-11. The next three games went in his favour at 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 to record an impressive 4-0 win.

To decide the winner of the group, next opponent for the Nigerian is Russia’s Alexey Liventsov, and if the Portugal-based player wins the match that will be played on Thursday, February 13, he will progress to the main draw.

On the other side, things did not go as planned for his compatriot, Makanjuola, who is making his debut in an ITTF World Tour losing 5-11, 9-11, 8-11, 5-11 to his French opponent. His last group match will be against Portugal’s Joao Monteiro.

The winner of the 32 groups in the qualifiers will advance to the main draw to confront the top 32 seeded players. The players are looking to obtain World Tour Series Standings points to qualify for the $1m World Tour Grand Final to be held later in the year.

For Quadri, the victory against the Egyptian would surely motivate him against his next opponent.

“I did not play like I expected before the match. I won, but I was not on top of my game. The reason is just that it has been so long I took part in an international tournament. I was expecting a tougher challenge from the Egyptian but I was fortunate because he did not play well also,” he said.

The Kuwait Open is a super series event on the ITTF World Tour, which is the top of the three tiers (super, major and challenge). Six gold medals will be at stake – men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, men’s U-21 singles and women’s U-21 singles.

The Kuwait Open is the first Super Series event of 2014 and second World Tour event of the year after the Hungarian Open, which was a challenge series event.