Nigerian Stalwart Upsets Seeding, Egyptian Stalwart Experiences Nervous Moments
Courtesy of ITTF
Years of experience, now 42 years old, Nigeria’s Segun Toriola was arguably the surprise name to reserve a place in the semi-finals of the Men’s Singles event at the 2016 ITTF-Africa Top 16 tournament in Khartoum, Sudan on Sunday 14th February.
The no.5 seed, he secured top spot in his first stage group by overcoming Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu, the no.5 seed (11-9, 11-3, 11-7), before progressing to beat Algeria’s Sami Kherouf, the no.12 seed in the quarter-finals (12-10, 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4).
A very mild surprise, the bigger surprise was that caused by Sami Kherouf in a competition, which witnessed four groups in the initial stage; players finishing in first and second place in each group advancing the last eight.
After losing to Tunisia’s Adem Hmam, the no.8 seed, in four games (12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9), he beat Egypt’s El-Sayed Lashin, the no.3 seed, by a similar margin the earlier defeat (3-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7).
Earlier El-Sayed Lashin had accounted for Adem Hmam in three straight games (11-5, 14-12, 11-4); thus games ratio was needed to separate the three players. The eventual outcome was top spot for El-Sayed Lashin (4:3) with Sami Kherouf in second spot (4:4) and Adem Hmam (3:4) the player to miss out on a quarterfinal berth.
Last Four Place Reserved
A place in the last four was the eventual lot for El-Sayed Lashin; he accounted for Saheed Idowu (11-3, 11-7, 11-2, 7-11, 11-5), to end a disappointing day for the Congo Brazzaville player.
Top Two Progress
First place for two stalwarts of African sport; it was also top spot for the current two leading players in the continent.
Egypt’s Omar Assar, the top seed, secured first place in his group, as did Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.2 seed.
Convincing performances in the first phase; it was the same in the quarterfinals; Omar Assar accounted for Togo’s Mawussi Agbetoglo (11-4, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7), Quadri Aruna defeat Suraju Saka, like Saheed Idowu from Congo Brazzaville (11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5).
At the semi-final stage Omar Assar meets Segun Toriola, Quadri Aruna opposes El-Sayed Lashin.
Top Four Reach Semi-Finals
One very minor surprise in the Men’s Singles event; in the counterpart Women’s Singles competition there were none at all.
Egypt’s Dina Meshref and Nadeen El-Dawlatly, alongside Congo Brazzaville’s Han Xing and Nigeria’s Offiong Edem, the respective top four seeds, all emerged unbeaten in their first phase contests before reserving last four places.
In the round of the last eight, Dina Meshref beat Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi, the no.7 seed (11-2, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3); whilst Nadeen El-Dawlatly overcame Congo Brazzaville’s Onyinyechi Nwachukwu, the no.11 seed (11-4, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5).
Similarly, Offiong Edem accounted for Islem Laid, like Lynda Loghraibi from Algeria and the no.6 seed (11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 11-7, 15-13); in an even more impressive manner Han Xing defeated Djibouti’s Safa Farah (11-1, 11-4, 11-8, 11-3).
In the penultimate round Dina Meshref meets Offiong Edem, Nadeen El-Dawlatly opposes Han Xing.
Play in the ITTF-Africa Top 16 tournament concludes on Monday February 15th.