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2018 ITTF World Team Championships: Slovakia halts Nigeria’s promotion bid

Aruna Qadri in action

For the second time at the 2018 ITTF World Team Championships, Slovakia became Nigeria’s undoing in the quarterfinal match of the men’s second division.

Having beaten Nigeria 1-3 in the group stage, the Slovak led by Lubomir Pistej again humbled Nigeria 3-0 in the quarterfinal encounter.

Aruna Quadri in action at the ITTF World Team Championships in Sweden

Apart from the defeat the unbeaten run of Aruna Quadri was halted by Pistej who defeated the Nigeria 3-1 to give the Slovak team an advantage going into the second game between Bode Abiodun and Samuel Novota.

In the encounter against Quadri, Pistej copped a knee injury but the treatment from the medical team put the star back into the game.

Having studied Quadri very well, Pistej ensured Quadri did not play much of his forehand. To give the European team the needed win, Pistej beat Quadri 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 11-4.

Abiodun wanted to restore parity for Nigeria but the bespectacled Novota pulled some tricks to beat the Nigerian 5-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7 to lead 2-0.

It was the turn of Olajide Omotayo to put Nigeria back into the game, but the defensive style of Wang Yang was too much for the youngest member of the Nigerian side.

Despite winning the first game at 12-10, Olajide could not control the spin of Yang as he was defeated 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 to complete the 3-0 rout of Nigeria.

A disappointed Segun Toriola told that the defeat to Quadri gave the Slovak team the needed motivation to go all out. “It was painful that we had to lose to the same team in this crucial stage of the competition. We were also surprised with their set-up because they decided to use their second best player as third player. Generally, I think we did well winning five matches and losing two to same team,” Toriola said.

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