The Africa’s hope of playing in the quarterfinal of the 2017 ITTF World Cup was dashed as Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Egypt’s Omar Assar were sent packing by their superior Asian opponents in the round of 16.
Assar played the game of his life against world and Olympic champion, China’s Ma Long by ensuring that the Chinese was out to test in his first game of the competition. With his near-perfect backhand, Assar matched Ma Long strength-for-strength from the start of the match but an experienced Chinese won the first game at 11-5. Spurred by the support of the Belgian fans, Assar restored parity in the second game with 11-7 win.
Not ready to give Assar any breathing space, Ma Long claimed three successive victory of 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 to end Assar’s dream in the last 16.
Like Assar, Quadri started well against Jun Mizutani of Japan, but the Japanese knew what the Nigerian did to his teammates in the last three months and he never allowed Quadri a breathing space from the start.
Despite the resilient of Quadri, the Japanese ranked seventh in the world, was all over Quadri and less than one hour, he edged out the Nigerian at 4-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7).
With this development, Africa’s chance of making it to the last eight was halted by the Asians stars and the stage is set for the semifinal of the tournament today.
Meanwhile, the stage is set for the semifinal matches on Sunday October 22 as new champion emerges in the $150,000prize money tournament.
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