Table tennis: Singapore's Gao Ning squeezes past Nigerian Aruna to enter World Cup last 16

Singapore's top paddler Gao Ning narrowly made it into the main draw of the Men's World Cup on Saturday.

The world No. 41 came from behind to edge out higher-ranked Nigerian Aruna Quadri in Saarbrucken, Germany 4-3 (5-11, 6-11, 16-14, 11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 13-11), needing three match points in the deciding game of the Group 4 match to secure his place in the round of 16.

As the world No. 25 and crowd favourite had already lost 2-4 to Par Gerell in the opening match, Gao's last group match against the Swede later on Saturday will be purely for seeding purposes in the knockout stage, with the top two from each group joining the top eight seeds.

The 33-year-old Singaporean is in the tournament by virtue of his fourth place in the Asian Cup.

Aruna has been a revelation this year, being the first African to reach the singles quarter-finals at the Olympics in August in Rio, where he lost to eventual champion Ma Long of China. Gao, in contrast, fell in the second round.