Teenage Japanese table tennis star Tomikazu Harimoto will test the might of current African champion Quadri Aruna in the men’s singles round of 16 of the 2023 WTT Singapore Smash on Thursday.
Quadri Aruna, who is yet to defeat the Japanese, would attempt to end his losing streak after suffering two losses against the 19-year-old Harimoto.
On Tuesday, the Nigerian table tennis star defeated French teen Alexis Lebrun 3-2 after rallying from a set down at the Singapore Sports Hub’s OCBC Arena.
The 33-year-old Nigerian star was defeated 11-8 in the opening set but rallied to win the second set 11-8.
He overcame Lebrun in the third set to take the lead, but the French star upset Quadri in the fourth set 11-7 to even the match at 2-2.
Nonetheless, Quadri advanced to the round of 16 by winning the decisive set 11-7. The match lasted 38 minutes and 48 seconds.
Quadri is the only African table tennis star left in the running after Egypt’s Omar Assar, Dina Meshref, Hana Goda, and Mariam Alhodaby were knocked out of the tournament early.
If Quadri defeats Harimoto on Thursday, he will then face the winner of Hugo Calderano vs. Darko Jorgic in the next round of the competition.
“It was a very good comeback win for me and I want to keep the momentum and hopefully advance to the next round of the tournament,” Quadri said after his victory.
“It is always difficult playing against Harimoto because he is a very fast player. It’s not just that he is a tough opponent, he is a good player who is capable of winning as well.
“But having played him twice at a big stage like this, I think I will try my best to bring him down this time around because it’s a 50-50 match for both of us, anybody can win.
“In this tournament, every player has an equal chance to win the title because we are all at the same level regardless of your world ranking. I am happy with my performance and I hope I can do more.”