by Simon Daish
Two wins for Dimitrij Ovtcharov and a single courtesy of Vladimir Samsonov helped TTC Fakel Gazprom Orenburg to a 3-2 away victory in the opening leg of the final. With the two teams separated by just one, the tie was perfectly poised heading into the 2nd leg.
A thrilling contest from start to finish, Orenburg had the luxury of having home advantage on their side in the 2nd leg with 1200 spectators in attendance. In the opening fixture of the match it was Vladimir Samsonov who held the upper hand, posting a straight games victory over Jonathan Groth (11-3, 11-7, 11-8) to put Orenburg 1-0 ahead.
Fang Bo then put the visitors on the board with a fantastic display against Dimitrij Ovtcharov (11-8, 11-4, 11-9) only for Orenburg to retake the lead thanks to Yan An’s victory over Andrej Gacina (11-3, 13-11, 11-9).
UMMC went on to level the scores once again as Fang Bo picked up his second win of the match, seeing off Vladimir Samsonov (11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5) to force a deciding fifth encounter. However, the race for the title concluded in Orenburg’s favour with Dimitrij Ovtcharov beating Alexander Shibaev in three games (11-7, 11-9, 12-10).
Success for TTC Fakel Gazprom Orenburg sees the Russian side lift the prestigious trophy for the fifth time having won the 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017 editions of the event.