by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Representing Borussia Düsseldorf in the Liebherr German Cup on Saturday 6th January, at the semi-final stage against Werder Bremen, Kristian Karlsson beat Omar Assar (11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 10-12, 11-9), before in the final, when facing 1. FC Saarbrücken TT, in a similarly close duel, he overcame Patrick Franziska (11-9, 10-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8).
Both wins were integral to his team’s success as three-nil wins were recorded on both occasions in front of a sold out crowd of 3,900 spectators in the Ulm/Neu-Ulm arena.
Hard fought success for Kristian Karlsson who is the no.7 seed in Budapest; disappointment for Omar Assar, the no.4 seed; likewise, it was not the best of fortunes for Hugo Calderano, the no.5 seed at the forthcoming Seamaster 2018 Hungarian Open.
On duty for TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen, in the semi-final against 1. FC Saarbrücken TT, he experienced defeats at the hands of Patrick Franziska (11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7) and Tiago Apolonia (12-10, 5-11, 12-10, 11-8) in a three-one defeat.
However, the biggest concern is for Simon Gauzy, the no.2 seed, in Budapest; due to represent TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen, he was forced to withdraw from proceedings owing to a back injury. There must now be some doubt as to his participation in Hungary.
Notably both Kristian Karlsson and Simon Gauzy are very much players with the same target, to win their first ever ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title; last year Kristian Karlsson was a quarter-finalist in Korea and the Czech Republic, Simon Gauzy was the runner up in Australia.
Meanwhile, for Omar Assar and Hugo Calderano, the situation is somewhat different. Omar Assar won in Lagos in 2013 and 2014; Hugo Calderano in 2013 in Santos; however, each has yet to win outside their own continent.
A stern test awaits in Budapest.
Liebherr German Cup
Semi-Final: Borussia Düsseldorf 3 – 0 SV Werder Bremen
Timo Boll v Hunor Szöcs 11-7, 11-6, 11-7
Anton Källberg v Bastian Steger 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9
Kristian Karlsson v Omar Assar 11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 10-12, 11-9
Semi-Final: 1. FC Saarbrücken TT 3 – 1 TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen
Tiago Apolonia v Jakub Dyjas 14-12, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7
Patrick Franziska v Hugo Calderano 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7
Patrick Baum v Yuto Muramatsu 11-13, 8-11, 13-11, 9-11
Tiago Apolonia v Hugo Calderano 12 -10, 5 -11, 12-10, 11 -8
Final: 1. FC Saarbrücken TT 0 – 3 Borussia Düsseldorf
Patrick Franziska v Kristian Karlsson 9-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-9, 8-11
Tiago Apolonia v Timo Boll 11-5, 9-11, 3-11, 8-11
Patrick Baum v Anton Källberg 3-11, 8-11, 4-11