by Simon Daish
Trailing from the early stages of the evening following Quadri Aruna’s victory over Cedric Nuytinck (9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6) the French club made a swift response through Liam Pitchford, who accounted for Diogo Carvalho across four games (9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6).
Returning from a lengthy injury absence João Monteiro put the hosts back in front with a narrow win at Fan Shengpeng’s expense (12-10, 11-5, 7-11, 9-11, 11-3). However, a second success for Liam Pitchford soon followed with the Englishman beating Quadri Aruna in straight games (11-8, 16-14, 11-8) before Cedric Nuytinck brought the proceedings to a close with his comeback victory over Diogo Carvalho (10-12, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8).
Over in the other semi-final a similar outcome unfolded as Polish side K.S. Dekorglass Dzialdowo inflicted a 3-2 away defeat upon Germany’s FC Saarbrücken.
Taku Takakiwa earned a brace for the visitors, seeing off Cristian Pletea (5-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-8) and Patrick Franziska (11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6) while a third win arrived courtesy of Jiri Vrablik, who came out on top against Cristian Pletea in the match decider (9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8).
There was another full distance encounter in the last four of the Women’s ETTU Cup as UCAM Cartagena TM took home a crucial 3-2 lead against SH-ITB Budaörsi 2i Sport Club.
Liu Xin was the star of the show for Cartagena with victories over Maria Fazekas (9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-3) and Szandra Pergel (11-6, 11-8, 11-3) but with the score sitting all-square at 2-2 a fifth and fixture was required. Stepping up to the mark Maria Xiao beat Maria Fazekas by a three games to one margin (11-6, 11-2, 5-11, 11-3) to seal the win.
In amongst all of the action there was some joy for home fans to celebrate with CP Lyssois Lille Métropole establishing a 3-1 advantage in an all-French affair with ALCL TT Grand-Quevilly.
Off to a flying start the hosts raced into a 2-0 lead after Yang Xiaoxin and Tamolwan Khetkhuan produced convincing displays in their respective encounters with Galia Dvorak (11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6) and Sun Jiayi (11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5). Tian Yuan managed to get the away team on the board with her straight games success against Agnes Le Lannic (11-7, 11-7, 12-10) but it proved little consolation as Yang Xiaoxin outclassed Sun Jiayi (11-5, 11-9, 12-10) to complete her brace.