by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Sensationally, just one day short of his 28th birthday, he beat Timo Boll, the former World no.1 and the no.10 seed in Rio de Janeiro,
Incredibly, Quadri Aruna withstood a brave recovery by the German after winning the first three games to secure a six games success (12-10, 12-10, 11-5, 3-11, 5-11, 11-5).
“It’s a miracle; this is amazing, I don’t know what to say, my fans made the victory possible”, said a dazed Quadri Aruna. “Thank you to all the Brazilian spectators for their support; they gave me so much energy; this feels so good, it is a dream come true that I am in the quarter-finals.”
High energy Quadri Aruna won the first three games; we waited for the storm to subside, it did not, the Nigerian was relentless.
“I was able to receive his service well; after I won the first three games I could not find many chances to attack; if I have lost the sixth game I think in the seventh I would had no chance”, added Quadri Aruna who surprised me somewhat with his tactics.
“It was better for me attacking his forehand than his backhand; he was very strong from the backhand”, explained Quadri Aruna; the Timo Boll forehand is known for being devastating, more spin on the first three attacks than virtually any other player in the world.
“He has surprised a lot of people, I knew he was good coming into the match, I just have to say well played”, said a gallant Timo Boll. “His whole game is different, so it took me a while to work it out; once I was three-nil down I started to get more into the match but it was already too late.”
Disappointment for Timo Boll who, as always, conducted himself in a true sportsmanlike manner; it was not his day, the day belonged to Quadri Aruna.
“Unbelievable, just unbelievable”, concluded Quadri Aruna who wrote his name in the history books of the Olympic Games.
A first for Africa, one of the biggest upsets in the history of the table tennis at the Olympic Games, if not the biggest!