Aruna Quadri has qualified for the quarter-final of the men’s singles at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Smash in Singapore after a straight set victory against Japanese teenager and world number 4, Tomokazu Harimoto at the Infinity Arena in the early hours of Thursday.
When it came to facing each other on the international stage, Aruna was the clear underdog. Before today he had 0-3 head-to-head record against the Japanese, but the African number 1 seems to have found the secret sauce as he has overcome his losing record against Tomokazu Harimoto with a convincing 3-0 win (11-7, 13-11 and 11-7) to wrap up the match in less than 30 minutes.
“I actually spoke with some coaches here and they gave me some great advice on how to play Harimoto so I thought, “Let me try. I’ve been trying out some tactics before against him and it didn’t work but the advice from the coaches really worked very well for me today. But of course I have to keep the advice to myself for our next meeting,” Quadri Aruna said.
The game was a one-sided affair that lacked the spark promised by the enormous pairing. Aruna would be hoping to surpass the quarter-final feat he achieved at the WTT Contender in Durban, South Africa, earlier in January.
The Nigerian is the only African player left in WTT Smash Singapore following the early exit of Egypt’s quartet Omar Assar, Dina Meshref, Hana Goda and Mariam Alhodaby.
“I’m very happy here; Singapore always brings positive memories. Two years ago, I made it to the quarterfinals here when I beat Liang Jingkun from China (at the WTT Cup Finals Singapore 2021). This actually was a very good one for me. For Africa and Nigeria, it’s another quarterfinal and I really hope I can make it count this time too.”
Aruna will now face the winner of the round of 16 fixture between Portugal’s Hugo Calderano and Darko Jorgic of Slovenia. The matchup is billed for Friday.