by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Olufunke Oshonaike, the no.2 seed in the Women’s Singles event was beaten by Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou (11-6, 12-14, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8); by a similar margin in the Men’s Singles competition Segun Toriola, the no.4 seed, suffered at the hands of Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu (11-6, 4-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10).
Defeat for Olufunke Oshonaike, there was also defeat for Egypt’s Farah Abdel-Aziz, the no.3 seed, she lost to Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi, the most calm competitor in the whole tournament. On the opening day of play, she claimed top place in her group, three matches played, three wins and all in the full distance five games.
One day later in the main draw when matches were best of seven games it was exactly the same scenario. She recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Farah Abdel-Aziz in a full distance duel (7-11, 6-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6).
At the semi-final stage Lynda Loghraibi faces Sarah Hanffou; in the opposite half of the draw Egypt’s Dina Meshref plays Nigeria’s Edem Offiong.
In the round of the last eight, Dina Meshref, the top seed, beat Christy Bristol of the Seychelles (11-3, 11-3, 11-7, 11-4); Offiong Edem, the no.4 seed, ended the hopes of Tunisia’s Safa Saidani (5-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8).
Meanwhile, in the Men’s Singles event, other than the defeat of Segun Toriola matters proceeded as status predicted.
Egypt’s Omar Assar, the top seed, beat Tunisia’s Thameur Mamia (11-9, 11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 11-3), Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.2 seed, overcame Ghana’s Derek Abrefa ((11-2, 11-9, 11-1, 11-8); Ahmed Ali Saleh, the no.3 seed and like Omar Assar from Egypt, ended the hopes of Algeria’s Sami Kherouf (11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9).
“It was not easy at all. It was very difficult against Sami from Algeria. He led two-one but I fought back and finally I won to qualify for the semi-finals.” Ahmed Ali Saleh
One step away from the final, Omar Assar meets Saheed Idowu, Quadri Aruna confronts Ahmed Ali Saleh.
In both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events, the semi-finals and finals will be played on Saturday 3rd March.