Aruna Quadri‘s unbeaten run at the ITTF World Tour tagged Bulgaria Open came to a glorious end yesterday as the Nigeria Open champion fell to China’s Zhao Zihao 4-1 in the men’s singles semifinal.
Quadri who had hacked down top players including Japanese 10-time national champion, Jun Mizutani at the Bulgaria Open was hailed by the organisers for his display at the tournament to make it to the last four of the $160,000 prize money tournament.
The Chinese star was required to qualify and he defeated Quadri, the no.10 seed (11-6, 12-14, 11-2, 11-8, 12-10) to book his place in his first ever ITTF World Tour men’s singles final.
A total contrast in styles; the earlier timing, the much shorter quicker strokes of the 22-year-old Chinese pen-holder when compared with the African star, gave Quadri minimal time to exert his renowned powerful forehand.
Trailing three games to one and ahead 9-8 in the fifth after having led 7-4, Quadri called “Time Out”, it was to prove to no avail. Zhao Zihao converted on his second match point, the contest ending in anti-climax as the Nigerian star served off the end of the table.
The Chinese did not give Quadri minimal time to execute his long powerful forehand in the encounter.
Quadri is expected to arrive Morocco today for the opening match of the team event which serves off tomorrow.
In the second semifinal tie, Japan’s Tamakazu Harimoto dominant display versus Portuguese Marcos Freitas puts him within touching distance of achieving Gold in Bulgaria.
The “Freight Train” as he is fondly called, was put to an abrupt stop by Harimoto, who claimed a straight sets victory. In less than 32 minutes, the Japanese favorite was superbly imperious on the forehand, giving Freitas no room to work with at all (11-8, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8).
In the final tie, the Japanese teenage sensation thought China’s Zhao Zihao some lessons after winning 4-2 to claim the men’s title.