Quadri Aruna, yesterday, qualified for the round of 32 in the Men’s singles of the World Table Tennis (WTT) Singapore Smash holding at the Singapore Sports Hub’s OCBC Arena.

The Nigerian top seed defeated Germany’s teenager, Ruwen Filus, 3-2 (14-12, 6-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-9), during a keenly contested game in the first round of the championship.

With the win, Aruna will meet French star, Alexis Lebrun, in the next round. Lebrun defeated China’s Yuan Licen in the round of 64.

It was not so smooth for Africa’s number two seed, Egypt’s Omar Assar, who lost 3-0 to Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia in the round of 64. His compatriots, Hana Goda and Mariam Alhodaby, were also beaten by German and Japanese opponents respectively.

Speaking on his hard-fought victory over Filus, Aruna said, “it was 5-1 (to him), and then 7-2, and suddenly I won five points in a row.

That was a very good comeback and I was focusing because six or seven years ago, I experienced almost the same situation against him and I knew it was not over until it’s over.

“I kept my cool, I kept playing and in the end he made a few errors and that made a big difference,” Aruna said.

The Nigerian, ranked number 14, added: “It’s not just that he (Filus) was a tough opponent, we were together in the same team (in the German Bundesliga) for about two years and he knows me very well. I believe it was 50-50 before the game and as we have seen, it was 11-9 in the fifth game.”

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