by Simon Daish
The match in Saarbrücken was a delight for any neutral spectators with constant momentum swings and wonderful attacking end-to-end rallies, producing arguably one of the most dramatic matches seen so far at the 2016 World Cup.
Game one saw Gauzy make a strong start to the tie, taking the end by an eight point difference but the next two games went to deuce; Steger levelled the match with a 14-16 win in the second end before Gauzy retook the lead after the conclusion of game three which ended 15-13 in his direction.
The encounter became even more interesting when Steger registered back-to-back games to move into a 2-3 advantage, and the German player then raced into a 7-10 lead in the sixth game to hold three match points.
Gauzy was in trouble and knew that he would require something very special to recover from the situation, but luckily for him it would turn out to be his day. Five consecutive points gave Gauzy the game and another victory in the deciding end brought the match to a dramatic close (11-3, 14-16, 15-13, 3-11, 8-11, 12-10, 12-10).
“It was an amazing match and the craziest match I ever played. It was tight for me to win the game and it was unbelievable that I could come back from 3-2 down in games and 10-7 (points) to win the match 4-3. I am happy that I won” – Simon Gauzy (France).
Looking rather shocked by what had just unfolded in front of his very own eyes, Bastian Steger as expected was disappointed with the outcome of the match, “So many people have asked me what went wrong for me in the match, but it happened and it can happen to anybody,” said Steger.
“When I was leading 10-7 in the sixth game and 3-2 up, I just focused on getting the final point. Even when it was 10-8 in the seventh game in my favour, I wanted to get the last point. I was focused but today was just his day and it can go either way.”
With Dimitrij Ovtcharov also losing in the Round of 16 the host country Germany have no players left in the competition at the quarter-finals stage, a fact that most spectators wouldn’t have thought conceivable heading into the event.