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Singapore always brings positive memories, Aruna says after historic Q’final berth



Nigerian table tennis superstar, Quadri Aruna has expressed his excitement after reaching the quarter-finals of the WTT Singapore Smash on Thursday.

Aruna became the first African to qualify for the last eight of the competition after beating world number four Tomokazu Harimoto in the round of 16 of the men’s singles at the Infinity Arena.

The Nigerian is the only surviving African in the competition following the early exit of Egypt’s quartet of Omar Assar, Dina Meshref, Hana Goda and Mariam Alhodaby.

Having lost thrice to the Japanese superstar who is ranked fourth in the world, Aruna, rated 14th in the world showed class and composure to stun the Harimoto at a big stage in Singapore.

Aruna demystified Harimoto to end his losing streak against the tournament’s 4th seed at 3-0 (11-7, 13-11, 11-7).

Read Also: C’wealth Games: Aruna leads Nigeria men’s team to victory, women’s team beaten in game 2

“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,” said Aruna after the game.

“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.

“When it was 5-0, I had been serving short to his forehand and I was trying to change it up, maybe serve long to his backhand just to make him a little bit uncomfortable. Unfortunately, it was a mistake and he caught up to 5-5, but I wasn’t giving up. I put myself together and kept fighting.

“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 added

Aruna will now face the winner of Hugo Calderano of Brazil and Darko Jorgic of Slovenia in the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, home favourite Quek Izaac’s dream run came to an end in the round of 16 , following a 3-0 defeat to 3rd seed Wang Chuqin of China (11-4, 11-6, 11-7).

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