(by Simon Daish)
Early advantage, defending champions impress in Denmark
Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg has boosted its chances of reaching the last four of the 2017-2018 Men’s Champions League following a strong performance in the 1st leg of its quarter-finals match against Roskilde Bordtennis BTK61.
Defending champions Orenburg got off to a bright start in Denmark with new World no.1 Dimitrij Ovtcharov claiming a four games victory over Zhai Yujia (12-10, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7) and the Russian side’s lead was soon doubled through Jun Mizutani, who saw off Michael Maze by the same number of games (11-1, 4-11, 12-10, 11-3).
The match concluded in dramatic style as Vladimir Samsonov edged to a narrow win against Laurens Tromers (11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9) to complete the 0-3 away victory for Orenburg.
Success for Orenburg but it was very much the opposite outcome for the other Russian club involved in quarter-finals action as TTSC UMMC fell to a home defeat.
Borussia Düsseldorf was the opposing team and the German champions were in ruthless form right from the start of the tie. Timo Boll got the ball rolling for Düsseldorf with a straight games triumph over Maharu Yoshimura (11-5, 11-9, 11-3) prior to positive outings from Kristian Karlsson and Anton Källberg in their fixtures against Alexander Shibaev (8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9) and Andrej Gacina (11-6, 11-13, 14-12, 7-11, 11-2).
Spectators were treated to a fantastic evening of table tennis on Friday 26th January as TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen and FC Saarbrücken went head-to-head in an all-German encounter which went the full match distance.
Despite a brace from Hugo Calderano the home team ended up on the wrong side of a 2-3 result; Patrick Franziska and Patrick Baum contributed a win apiece for the visitors with victories over João Geraldo (11-5, 11-9, 11-1) and Yuto Muramatsu (8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8) before Bojan Tokic sealed the win with a fine display against Jakub Dyjas in the decider (9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6).
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