(by Steve Hopkins)
Competitive table tennis is back in Germany in full force. The Budesliga Championships was held over the weekend and the previous two weeks had warm-up tournaments labeled as the Dusseldorf Masters Series.
The first Dusseldorf Masters event was won by Timo Boll. In that tournament, Dang Qiu upset Dimitrij Ovtcharov early, and Steffen Mengel made it all the way to the Final. Kanak Jha arrived in Germany in time to play in the Second Masters event. Jha played both Qiu and Mengel, defeating Mengel and losing to Qiu. Qiu ultimately faced Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the Final, and Ovtcharov won.
The third and final installment of the Dusseldorf Masters concluded today. The top two seeds were Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Kanak Jha. In the Quarterfinals, Jha overcame Gerrit Engerman 4-2, Egypt’s Omar Assar defeated Cedric Meissner 4-1, Dang Qiu defeated Fanbo Meng 4-2, and Ovtcharov dominated Tobias Hippler 4-0.
The Semifinals were match-ups between four Butterfly-sponsored players. Ovtcharov is currently using Dignics on both sides (Dignics 09c on his forehand and Dignics 05 on his backhand), Assar is using Tenergy 05 on both sides, Qiu is using Dignics 09c on both sides, and Kanak Jha is using Tenergy 05 Hard on his forehand and Dignics 05 on his backhand.
In the first Semifinal, Dang Qiu won the first game, but Dimitrij Ovtcharov then ran off four straight to seal a 4-1 victory. In the second Semifinal, Kanak Jha held a 2-1 lead, but Omar Assar won the final three games to secure his spot in the Final. The Final was not smooth for a highly favored Ovtcharov. Ovtcharov needed all seven games to secure the win. Ovtcharov over Assar 4-3 (9, 7, -10, -8, 8, -8, 6).
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