by Simon Daish
The fourth seed Mohamed El-Beiali entered the tie as the higher ranked player; on paper the Egyptian was considered to be the favourite to advance with Sami Kherouf being the no.5 seed.
Yet, the scenario was far from simple for Mohamed El-Beiali, as his Algerian rival Sami Kherouf recovered from a three games to one deficit to level the match at three games apiece to send the battle into a deciding seventh game.
Sami Kherouf had momentum on his side heading into the deciding game but Mohamed El-Beiali held his nerve and managed to edge over the finish line (9-11, 11-6, 11-2 ,11-4, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8).
Awaiting Mohamed El-Beiali in the semi-finals is a difficult fixture against Nigerian table tennis star Quadri Aruna, who is aiming to win the Africa Cup Men’s Singles crown for the second time in his career.
Quadri Aruna went head-to-head with Algeria’s Naim Karali in the last eight of the tournament and without facing too many problems the second seed came out of the match on top (11-9, 11-5, 13-11, 9-11, 11-7) to book a top four finish in Agadir.
The top half of the draw sees two Egyptian competitors facing off against one another in the semi-finals, following strong outings from Ahmed Ali Saleh and Omar Assar on the second day of play.
Victory over five games put Ahmed Ali Saleh into the last four after he saw off Tunisian athlete Thameur Mamia (11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7), while top seed Omar Assar proved too strong for Godfrey Sultan of Seychelles (11-4, 11-5, 11-4, 11-6) to ensure that Egypt will be represented in the final.
Note: the 2017 ITTF Africa Cup is a qualification tournament for the Liebherr Men’s World Cup to be held in Liège, Belgium later this year.