by Simon Daish
Kristian Karlsson had caused a big upset earlier in the day when he eliminated the number three seed Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) in the Round of 16, and another unexpected win came one round later with Karlsson (14th seed) edging over the line against eighth seed Simon Gauzy (FRA) at the quarter-finals stage.
The previous encounter between Kristian Karlsson and Simon Gauzy was at the Liebherr 2015 European Table Tennis Championships with the French player claiming a 0-3 win, however, Gauzy wasn’t able to replicate that result at the 2016 Men’s World Cup.
Neither competitor could be separated by the end of game four in Saarbrücken with the scores sitting level at 2-2, but Karlsson took the fifth end to put the advantage in his court.
Gauzy was forced to come from behind in his win over Bastian Steger (GER) in the previous round, and it looked as though another dramatic victory could be on the horizon for the Frenchman when he pushed Karlsson into a deciding game.
However, it was Karlsson who achieved the unthinkable, sealing his place in the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time (5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10). After the match Karlsson said he has been delighted with his performances at the tournament.
“Throughout the match I just tried to focus and think of tactics. I believed I could go far in the competition but getting to the semi-finals is unbelievable because I was not expecting it. My goal is to get to the top 15 in the world and I think it is achievable because I am improving in the game and I am happy to always practise.” – Kristian Karlsson (Sweden).
Simon Gauzy was disappointed to exit the event but leaves Saarbrücken with his head held high, “I think I am satisfied with my performance because I did not lose badly like 4-0. It was a close match that ended 4-3. He dominated the game and I had problems with his service because I could not read the spin.”
“10 days ago I was sick and I started training just one week ago and I think getting to this stage of the competition with one week’s training was a good outing for me in the tournament,” added Gauzy.