Aruna Quadri has emerged winner of the 2018 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open.
The 30-year-old on Sunday emerged the first Nigerian to lift the annual ITTF Challenge trophy in Nigeria.
The final concluding match of the 2018 event was an explosive 4-2 win over a France’s star player Antoine Hachard.
The men’s single was concluded at Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall, of Teslim Balogun Stadium on Sunday.
Quadri received a star prize of $5,000 and a side bonus of N1M from Lagos State Governor; Akinwunmi Ambode as the best Nigerian player in the competition.
An excited Quadri admitted that the Lagos fans’ support fetched him the needed victory against the enterprising France star.
The Sir Molade Okoya Thomas Indoor Sports Hall in Lagos was filled to capacity spectators trooped to the venue for the final star match between the two top seed for the Men’s Singles title.
In the final, he beat Frenchman, Antoine Hachard, the no.16 seed, in six games (11-13, 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7).
It was Antoine Hachard who made the better start, as he established an 8-4 lead in the opening game before Quadri responded to win the next five points; at 10-9 Quadri held game point, he was unable to convert. On his second opportunity at 12-11, Antoine Hachard seized the chance.
A good start from Antoine Hachard in the opening game; it was the same in the second but Quadri went ahead 7-1 and never looked back.
Composed and consistently directing the first attack towards the backhand of Quadri Aruna, Antoine Hachard secured an 8-5 lead in the third, before, at 10-6 holding four-game points, two were saved but not a third, the Frenchman held the advantage.
In the fourth game, Antoine Hachard continued the trend of preventing Quadri Aruna executing a series of forehand topspin strokes. Quadri established a 10-7 lead; he seized the first opportunity, it was parity.
Undoubtedly the success was a momentum change, in the fifth game as Quadri went ahead 4-1; Antoine Hachard with Benjamin Brossier courtside in the role of coach, called “Time Out”. However, the Nigerian hero was not to be denied, at 10-4 he held six-game points; at the second time of asking, he converted.
Bolstered by the passionate support, in the sixth game Quadri Aruna moved ahead 8-3, Antoine Hachard claimed the next two points and Quadri called “Time Out”. At 10-6 held four-game point. Quadri becomes the first player to win on home soil since the tournament was established as a Challenge tournament in 2014 and lays to rest, the ghosts of when settling for runners-up spot.
Quadri claimed the same title on October 2017 in Poland.