by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
A good start, Quadri Aruna gained the ideal start; a close first game, he won the vital points; it was the same in the second and third games.
However, once the third game was won confidence grew, a most efficient and professional performance was completed.
“A great day, very happy; it’s really great to be in Australia. Today was just like yesterday when I beat Harmeet Desai, every game was close, just one or two points either way, I was lucky. If he had taken one of the games I think I’d have been finished. Sharath is a great player; he fought so hard. I only feel 50 per cent fit, I have a slight cold, a runny nose; after long rallies I have to take a deep breath. Today my forehand was strong but I think one of the main reasons why I won was because my backhand block was strong; I was able to block his top spin attacks and catch him out of positions. Now rest, I think I will take a sauna and rest, a good sleep.” Quadri Aruna
Success for Quadri Aruna was followed with success for Gao Ning who showed glimpses of the form displayed in London at the 2011 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals when he beat Korea’s Ryu Seungmin followed by China’s Ma Lin, at the time the two most recent Olympic champion.
“In the third game I led 6-2, he changed his service; he served more to my forehand. The main thing today was to keep calm; at this level, a semi-final, all opponents are dangerous. My level is not quite that of 2011, seven years ago buy I’m getting there.” Gao Ning
Guiding the ship was Singaporean national coach, Liu Jiayi; he had worked out the tactics to perfection.
“My tactics were for Gao Ning to play strongly to Sam Walker’s backhand, play towards the backhand and middle. Sam was to soft on the first attack, he played too safe today. Basically Gao Ning put pressure on Sam Walker by not letting him play his forehand.” Liu Jiayi
The gold and bronze medal matches will be played on Sunday 15th April; the bronze medal contest is scheduled for 11.30 am, the gold medal duel which will bring the table tennis events at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games is scheduled for 12.20pm.