Aruna Quadri will faceoff with South Korea’s Cho Dae-seong in the men’s singles round of 16 of the World Table Tennis Saudi Smash 2024, taking place in Jedda, The PUNCH reports.

The Nigerian once again showed character as he came from behind to edge Lee Sang Su of South Korea 3-2 (9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11, 7, 11-1, 11-3) in a round of 32 slugfest at King Abdullah Sports City Infinity Arena on Monday morning.

The nail-biting win set up the potentially scintillating clash with the 21-year-old world No. 45, who will be looking to avenge the defeat of his compatriot.

Aruna made a flying start to his Saudi Smash campaign by coming from behind to beat Sharath Kamal Achanta 2-3 (11-8, 13-8, 8-11, 5-11, 11-13), who won two singles titles at the ITTF Pro Tour, the first in 2010, and reached the semi-finals in the men’s singles event at the 2017 World Championships.

Aruna’s virtuoso performance in the gruelling encounter delighted Nigerian women’s table tennis legend, Funke Oshonaike, who rooted ceaselessly for him and shared her excitement on her Facebook page after the match.

“What a match between the experience legend Achanta and our own Quadri Aruna! I was so very tensed because Achanta was leading 2-0. Aruna eventually won 3-2. yesssssssss! Me and table tennis sha na 5/6,” Oshonaike, the only woman to have participated in seven Olympic Games, said.

Battle-weary Aruna shared his experience in the match on the official website of the tournament saying, “It was really, really difficult to come back from 0-2 down. I was 8-2 up in the first game and 9-5 up in the second set, but I lost both, so I almost gave up. But I told myself not to give up, and the spirit of never giving up made the difference. In the end, I was very happy to win. I knew it was going to be 50/50 today. Achanta is a good player and a legend. I have learned a lot from him growing up. But I wasn’t intimidated. Thanks to all the fans who came to support me. They didn’t let me give up. They were the reason I kept on fighting, so I want to say thanks to all of them.”

The $2m prize money Saudi Smash 2024 is the sixth tournament of the WTT Series 2024. It started May 1 and will run through May 11 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.