by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It was a stunning performance with one point in particular quite simply from a different planet; the point in the fourth game that took the score from 9-all to 10-9 in the Nigerian’s favour.
Marcos Freitas was in total control, he played fast and wide to Quadri Aruna’s forehand. At full stretch the man from Lagos made contact with the ball, he must have been using a telescopic handled racket; he finished lying prone, flat on the floor. The ball floated back landing on to the Marcos Freitas side of the table. Play the return 100 times maybe 1,000 and Marcos Freitas would have put the ball on the table; today it was the 1,001st, he put on the floor!
“Just try, always give it your maximum, I just managed to catch the ball with my racket; I thought the ball had bounced on my side of the table and I’d lost the point but then I saw the face of Marcos Freitas and the ball on the floor. It was only then I realised I’d won the point!” Quadri Aruna
It was the point we will all remember in an outstanding performance.
“Just as last night against Wong Chun Ting I made a good start, my serves were good; Marcos served half-long and I was able to top spin the serve. I served short and followed up as strong as possible. He’s a great player, very good serves; earlier this year I lost to him three-nil in the European Champions League. Today was a revenge win but soon I will have to play him again the European Champions League.” Quadri Aruna
Success for Quadri Aruna, a quarter-final place booked. Now a prodigious challenge awaits; in the top half of the draw he is the only player remaining not representing the People’s Republic of China. Furthermore, his opponent in the round of the last eight is Fan Zhendong, the top seed.
In round two, Fan Zhendong beat German qualifier Benedikt Duda (6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3). Meanwhile, in the adjacent quarter of the draw, Zhou Yu, also a qualifier, overcame compatriot, Yan An, the no.10 seed (11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 11-2), Lin Gaoyuan, the no.4 seed, prevailed against Liu Dingshuo, likewise from China and required to compete in the qualification tournament. Liu Dingshuo was forced to withdraw from proceedings after the first three points of the third game (11-1, 11-9, 11-3, 11-0)
The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played on Saturday 18th November.