Home Sports Other Sports WTT finals: Aruna reaches 1/4 after stunning comeback against world No. 5 

WTT finals: Aruna reaches 1/4 after stunning comeback against world No. 5 

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Quadri Aruna was on the brink of a third consecutive defeat against Brazil’s Hugo Calderano but the Nigerian turned things around to stun the world No. 5 in the first round of the World Table Tennis (WTT) finals Doha 2023 in Qatar.

Just like it happened in their previous meetings, the Brazilian star raced to a 2-0 lead (11-7, 11-2) but the African champion silenced the roaring supporters of the South American champion in the third game with 11-9 win to narrow the gap to 2-1.

Aruna, the only black face among the world’s best 16 in Doha, continued from where he stopped in the third game with a close 12-10 win to put the game into a 2-2 tie.

The fifth game being the deciding encounter started in favour of Aruna, who led from the start leading 8-4 but the South American worked his way back into the game at 8-8.

He took the lead at 9-8, 10-9, but the ferocious forehand of Aruna did the magic for the Nigerian as his shots dazed Calderano to concede the fifth game at 12-10 being the first victory Aruna had over the South American star.

“I cannot describe how it feels. But I’m very happy and excited”, a delighted Aruna said after the epic victory.

The Nigerian, who was coached by Tunisia’s Hachmi Abid, hailed the tactician for his support throughout the encounter.

“My coach was telling don’t give up and keep fighting. One set could actually make a difference and it did make a big difference. I listen to him very much. I believe so much in him and I was just doing what he told me to do”, he added.

The win eased Aruna into the quarter final of the $340,000 prize money tournament and a rematch against world No. 1 Fan Zhendong of China on Thursday.

“I’ve never had a win against Fan Zhendong … I believe I can give my best tomorrow and see how it will go. It’s very important to enjoy it”, Aruna enthused.

 

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