by Ian Marshall, Editor
The tournament played on a similar formula each year but in even numbered years known as the Africa Top 16, in odd numbered years, the Africa Cup, after overcoming his erstwhile rival in 2016 in Yaoundé, Omar Assar had prevailed on the two most recent meetings in 2018 in Nairobi and last year in Lagos.
Conversely, Quadri Aruna had succeeded in Lagos in 2014, in Khartoum in 2016 and in 2017 in Agadir; the one most salient factor being that whoever prevailed won the tournament and progressed to gain a place in the Men’s World.
Left to the end
Furthermore, Quadri Aruna underlined one most important factor in a sporting contest; the best time to be ahead is at the end of the contest!
In fact, overall, he was never ahead in the contest until he held match point in the deciding seventh game! He lost the opening two games, before winning the third and then in the fourth after hold game point at 10-9, then saved two game points before securing victory.
Later, in the decisive seventh games, at the change of ends, Omar Assar led 5-2, Quadri Aruna levelled at 7-all but down 8-10 faced two match points. He saved both and then won the next, he elected for “time out” at 11-10 ahead with Omar Assar having the service. Somewhat differently, in the fourth game, having led 8-5, the advantage then being reduced to one point 8-7, Omar Assar called for the break, the outcome did not accrue in his favour. The decision made by Omar Assar bore fruit.
Calm and composes
Throughout the contest for Omar Assar the policy was to nullify the long powerful Quadri Aruna forehand; the problem for any player is that is easier said than done.
The Egyptian, true to his character, greeted success with a guttural cry, total commitment but it was not his day; if there was fortune in the count of the few nets and edges, things did not go his way.
Conversely for Quadri Aruna, there was not a sound, cool, calm and collected from start to finish, the focus never wandered, a place in the final was secured.