Aruna Quadri lost 4-1 to Egypt’s Omar Assar in a high-profile semi-final match at International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Africa Cup in Lagos on Monday.
Quadri had earlier in the quarter-finals beaten Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw 4-3 ( 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 7-11, 11-2, 7-11, 12-10) in a keenly contested affair, while second-ranked Assar saw off fourth-ranked Nigerian Olajide Omotayo 4-2 (14-12, 6-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-2, 11-4) to set up a date with Quadri.
The top-ranked Quadri found his Egyptian arch-rival in irresistible form, eventually succumbing to the 2018 Champion. In a repeat of last year’s final, Assar took the first two games 11-6, 11-8 but Quadri rallied back with a 11-3 win of his own in the third game. Assar then went on to win the next two games 11-7 and 11-3 to end any hopes of a comeback by the 2017 champion.
Assar will face fellow countrymen Ahmed Saleh in the final after the latter defeated Algeria’s Kerouf Sami 4-2.
In the women’s category, Nigeria’s Offiong Edem also lost to 4-1 Egypt’s Dina Meshref while Garci Fadwa of Tunisia lost 4-3 to Helmy Yousra in the other semi-final to set up an all Egyptian final in both categories.
Following the defeats of Quadri and Offiong at the semi-final stage, they will both compete in the bronze medal match on Tuesday.