Aruna Quadri and Ojo Onaolapo will battle for a place in the final of the Men’s Singles event of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Lagos Open World Tour on Saturday.
Either compatriot threaded contrasting paths on their way to the semi-finals with Onaolapo, fresh from conceding his Under-21 Men’s Singles title, stunning Egypt’s Mohammed El-Beiali- a player seeded four places higher than him at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall.
Onaolapo beat El-Beiali 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5 to set up Quadri, from whom he admitted he learned the ropes on how to deal with his third seed foe, who earlier in the year eliminated the top seed in the quarter-finals at the ITTF-Africa Senior Championships in Cairo.
“Before I played the match, my compatriot, Quadri Aruna taught me some tricks,” Onaolapo told Olalekan Okusan, the Media Officer for the ITTF-Africa.
“He told me I should not play short against him but try to play long. I followed this advice and things began to work for me.
“I was also relaxed during the match because I had nothing to lose; he is ranked higher than me.”
The win sets the 20-year-old up against his tipster, Quadri, who eliminated his own doubles team-mate Makanjuola Kazeem 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 in the last 8.
The other semi-final involves Egypt’s second seed Omar Assar and Potrugal’s fourth seed Andre Silva.
Omar accounted for Nigeria’s Boboye Oyeniyan 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5, while Silva ousted Omar’s younger brother Khalid Assar 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6.
Silva will be hoping for a repeat of fortunes against Omar on Saturday, after knocking out the same player in the penultimate round of the Men’s Doubles event a day earlier.
The duo of Andre and Diogo Silva saw off siblings Omar and Khalid Assar in the semi-finals of the Men’s Doubles event 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 on Friday.
The Portuguese are up against host nation’s Quadri and Makanjuola in Saturday’s final.