Aruna Quadri was not considered the favourite in the tie against China’s Peifeng Zheng at the ongoing ITTF World Tour Hong Kong Open.
But the Nigerian proved bookmakers wrong yesterday on table four with the out-of-world performance against the Chinese pen-holder.
Despite the unfriendly attitude of the Chinese in the encounter, Quadri was not deterred as he was bent on showing the young Asian that he would not fall to his antics.
From the start of the first round of the men’s single clash, Quadri’s forehand was the undoing of the Chinese as he could not control the shot.
The first game was close but Quadri won 12-10. The Oyo State-born star continued his dominance with 11-9 win in the second game.
But the Chinese star was not ready to surrender the tie to the 2018 Nigeria Open champion with 9-11 win over the Nigerian.
To keep the lead, Quadri fought well to win the fourth game at 11-5. But several unforced errors cost Quadri the fifth and sixth games as the Chinese won 5-11, 10-12 to put the encounter at 3-3.
In the deciding seventh game, Quadri ensured he led from the start and this paid off for him as he ended the dream of the 2018 Czech Open champion with 11-5 win to complete his 4-3 win in the first round of the men’s singles.
Another challenge confronts Quadri in the second round as the Nigerian will slug it out in the second round (last 16) against current World Junior Champion – Japan Tomokazu Harimoto, who edged out Sweden’s Jon Persson 4-2 in the first round.
The Japanese teenager has been fluctuating in his performance in recent times and this might work in favour of Quadri but according to ITTF, the encounter promises to be explosive at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, venue of the championship.