by Simon Daish
Dimitrij Ovtcharov had been labelled as one of the favourites to triumph in Saarbrücken having reached the last four of the 2015 competition, but his 2016 World Cup journey was cut short when Kristian Karlsson pulled off an unexpected victory over Ovtcharov in the Round of 16.
Karlsson had never previously beaten Ovtcharov in a World Rankings event, but the Swedish competitor had enjoyed success over Ovtcharov when they faced one another in last season’s European Champions League.
The 2016 Men’s World Cup match actually started in Ovtcharov’s favour- he took the opening game by a fairly comfortable scoreline- but that was the only game the German would claim as Karlsson went on to dominate.
Four consecutive ends followed for Karlsson and while game five required deuce to settle it, there was no question as to who was the deserved winner with Karlsson storming to one of the greatest scalps of his career to date (6-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5, 13-11).
Kristian Karlsson spoke after the match about his change in approach during the tie, having lost the opening game to third seed Ovtcharov before coming back to take the win:
“This victory means a lot to me because in the first game, he started attacking me and if you allow him to attack you first you will find it difficult to beat him. In the second game, I became more aggressive and this really worked for me. I made sure I took all of my chances in the game” – Kristian Karlsson (Sweden).
Devastation for the German fans and Dimitrij Ovtcharov hinted that distractions from outside of the sport may have affected his performance on the table, “I was just unlucky in the second game because I missed some vital points and when it was 3-1, I wanted to fight back but it was a bit late.” Ovtcharov added, “There were lot of things going on in my mind after being a father few weeks ago and I also lost my grandma two days ago coupled with the huge workload of the Olympic Games.”