31 May 2017

Flying the flag for the continent of Africa; in the first round of the Men’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf on Wednesday 31st May, both Egypt’s Omar Assar and Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna emerged successful.

However, for the most experienced of all, 42 year old Segun Toriola, also from Nigeria, there was to be no further progress.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor (Interviews by Olalekan Okusan)

Defeat for Segun Toriola; he was beaten by Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson (11-8, 11-6, 11-5, 11-1).

“It was a very difficult match for me because the ball was not bouncing as I had expected and this sometimes made the ball to stay on table. Also, my opponent was using pimples on his forehand and I was trying to avoid playing to his forehand but it was very hard for me to achieve this. For me I think the new ball has not helped any player because it was too slow on the table compared to the ball used during Rio Olympic Games. There should long time awareness on the change of ball and this has really affected a lot of players.” Segun Toriola

Furthermore, it was almost defeat for Omar Assar; he lost the first three games against Italy’s Marco Rech Daldosso before winning the next four to reserve his second round place (6-11, 6-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5).

A close call and some nervous moments for Omar Assar; for Quadri Aruna life was less testing; he overcame Chile’s Gustavo Gomez in four straight games (11-2, 11-7, 11-5, 11-3).

“It was a very surprising and difficult match because I played against my opponent last time at Kuwait Open and I defeated him easily four-one. The way he played it showed that he has improved tremendously and I was really surprised. It was a very tough match for me to come back from three-nil down to win four-three. I think I prepared very well for this competition and I have been in top form lately so for me when the match was three-one, I was determined not to allow all my efforts to waste. I must commend my opponent for the match because in the first two games I was too soft with my receive and service and this gave him an edge but when I changed tactics, things began to work. I have made up mind to play very well in this competition and I am really determined to do that.”  Omar Assar

Omar Assar meets Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting in round two; Quadri Aruna opposes Denmark’s Jonathan Groth.

The matches are scheduled for Thursday 1st June.

Liebherr 2017 World Championships Quadri Aruna Omar Assar Segun TORIOLA

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