Aruna Quadri will face Olympic champion and home favourite Ma Long on Tuesday (today) in the first round of the men’s singles of the ongoing World Table Tennis Championship in Macao, China.
Aruna, who exited the WTT Champions Xinxiang in the first round last week, after losing 3-0 to Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, will seek to improve on his performance at Tap Seac Multiport Pavilion.
The tournament has a combined prize pool money of $800,000 and 1000 world ranking points waiting for the champions.
Quadri, 34, who is Africa’s top-ranked table tennis star is wary of facing Long. From their last meeting last year, Long had a torrid time defeating the Nigerian 3-1 in an explosive encounter, but with the recent slide of the Chinese at the highest level, nothing seems sure for him against Quadri, who has been described as “the biggest thing to have emerged from Africa in table tennis.”
Ranked 11th in the world, Aruna will face the world number four with the hope of advancing to the second round.
Egypt’s Omar Assar will face another herculean task as he was drawn against Brazil’s Hugo Calderano in the first round. Assar, who has not been in fine form lately, will have to redouble his efforts against the world number five.
In the women’s singles, Africa’s sole flagbearer Dina Meshref of Egypt has been drawn against Australia’s Yangzi Liu in the first round as the African women’s champion looks to go beyond the first round in Macao.