by Simon Daish
TTSC UMMC moved into a commanding position early on in the match with Andrej Gacina and Fang Bo producing winning performances against Daniel Habesohn (11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8) and Lubomir Jancarik (9-11, 11-3, 12-10, 15-13), however, a strong display from Ovidiu Ionescu in his meeting with Jonathan Groth (8-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-7, 11-1) restored hope for Mühlhausen.
Daniel Habesohn then picked up arguably the upset of the evening, fighting back from a game down to stun Fang Bo (7-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6) but the advantage belongs to the visitors as Gacina outclassed Jancarik in four games (11-6, 9-11, 11-3, 11-7) to complete his brace.
Success for one Russian club and there was for another as TTC Fakel Gazprom Orenburg registered a fine 3-0 victory over AS Pontoise-Cergy on French soil.
In an intense opener Marcos Freitas handed Orenburg the lead against his former team, edging to a five games win over Mattias Falck (7-11, 7-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-9). Dimitrij Ovtcharov required the full match distance to hold off a brave effort from Tristan Flore (11-5, 15-17, 11-8, 4-11, 11-6) but for Vladimir Samsonov the task was more straightforward as the Belarusian dealt a 3-0 defeat upon Can Akkuzu (11-5, 11-4, 11-4).
Reigning champions Borussia Düsseldorf fought back from an early deficit to gain a solid 3-1 lead on their travels to Polish side K.S. Dartom Bogoria Grodzisk Mazowiecki.
Despite an impressive start from Kaii Yoshida, who accounted for Kristian Karlsson (11-5, 11-3, 12-10), the hosts suffered three consecutive defeats: Timo Boll came away from the match with two wins to his name against Pavel Sirucek (11-9, 11-6, 11-6) and Kaii Yoshida (11-5, 11-6, 11-6) while Anton Källberg recovered from two games down to beat Panagiotis Gionis (6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8).
Angers Vaillante have gained a significant advantage in the race for the semi-finals following a commanding 3-0 away victory over SPG Walter Wels.
Jens Lundqvist got the ball rolling for the visitors, defeating Deni Kozul in straight games (11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 11-4) with João Geraldo and Andrea Landrieu seeing off Adam Szudi (11-8, 11-9, 11-5) and Dominique Plattner (11-6, 11-2, 11-4) in the following two fixtures to bring the evening to a close.
The line-up for the last four will be finalised in just under a couple of weeks’ time with the quarter-final second legs being contested across Thursday 7th and Friday 8th February.