The poster boy of Nigeria’s table tennis, Aruna Quadri, yesterday lost 3-1 (11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8) to Olympics and world champion, Ma Long of China in the first round of the men’s singles event at the ongoing World Table Tennis (WTT) Championship in Macao, China.
Despite the victory, the world number four player admitted that he had to raise the level of his game to beat the African super star.
Being the second time in recent times that Ma Long will be facing Aruna on the big stage, the encounter lived up to expectations as they both sized up themselves in a battle of backhand and forehand.
Like a man who escaped by the whiskers, Ma Long said during the post-match interview that he was surprised by the backhand play of Aruna.
“I think it was a very tough match today. I was more active in the first game, but we were very close in the last three games, especially in the third and fourth games. The overall strength of the opponent, including the quality of his play, really put a lot of pressure on me. People always say Aruna has a really good forehand, but today I think his backhand is really good as well,” he said.
In the same vein, Egypt’s duo of Omar Assar and Dina Meshref could not progress to the second round after losing 3-2 each to Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Australia’s Yangzi Liu.