by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Presently Bode Abiodun has no world ranking, his most recent position being no.200 earlier this year in May, a listing which enabled him to occupy the no.9 seeded position in Lagos. The highest of his career was in October 2010 when he was named at no.126.
Conversely, Quadri Aruna presently stands at no.29, having been at no.25 from September 2016 to earlier this year in January.
“With training and concentration anything is possible. He is my teammate at Sporting Lisbon and I know how he plays. This is my first time of upsetting a top player. I believe I can make Nigeria proud as the weight is on my shoulders now. It is not easy beating Quadri so I have to give thank to God.” Bode Aboidun
A surprise defeat for Quadri Aruna; he was not alone. Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu, the no.16 seed, performed the recovery of the round to beat Egypt’s Ahmed Ali Saleh, the no.6 seed (6-11, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6); Hungary’s Marton Zita, the no.13 seed, added to Egyptian woes by overcoming Mohamed El-Beiali, the no.7 seed (7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-4), whilst India Sarthak Gandhi continued his winning ways.
Required to compete in the qualification tournament and the winner one round earlier in opposition to Qatar’s Li Ping, the no.3 seed (11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10), he beat Romania’s Alexandru Cazacu in what was to prove the closest match of the round. He emerged successful by the very minimal two point margin in the seventh game (8-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9).
Four upsets, in the remaining third round Men’s Singles encounters, status prevailed.
Finland’s Benedek Olah, the no.4 seed and defending champion, beat Khalid Assar, the no.11 seed (11-6, 11-6, 11-9, 6-11, 13-11) to cause Egypt more pain; thus leaving Omar Assar as the one player to fly the country’s flag. He duly obliged, the no.2 seed, he accounted for Scotland’s Gavin Rumgay in six games (11-7, 8-11, 13-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7).
Similarly, Antoine Hachard, the no.5 seed, raised the Tricolore high for France. He maintained his progress; he overcame Romania’s Rares Sipos, the no.12 seed (11-8, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6).
Notably, the effect is that a most international field awaits at the quarter-final stage; only India is represented by more than one player. In addition to Sartkak Gandhi, Sanil Shetty emerged successful in the third round of proceedings; the no.8 seed, he accounted for Nigeria’s Ojo Onaolapo, the no.15 seed (11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9).
At the quarter-final stage Sanil Shetty meets Bode Abiodun, Sarthak Gandhi opposes Saheed Idowu; in the adjacent half of the draw, it is Benedek Olah versus Marton Szita, Antoine Hachard in opposition to Omar Assar.
The quarter-final matches are scheduled for later in the day.