(by Steve Hopkins)
Two of the leading contenders met today with Ochsenhausen winning 3-2 over Dusseldorf. Dusseldorf was without Timo Boll in the line-up – Timo has been suffering from a sore back. They moved Anton Kallberg, currently the Bundesliga’s top scorer to the No. 1 position, moved Kristian Karlsson up to the No. 2 position, added Danny Heister as their third singles player and then teamed Karlsson and Walther as their doubles team.
Ochsenhausen kept their second best player, Simon Gauzy, out of singles today as well – instead choosing a squad of Hugo Calderano, Kanak Jha, and Samuel Kulczycki for singles and a team of Calderano and Gauzy for doubles.
This is all interesting maneuvering, as these two teams are likely to face each other in the tournament at the end of the year and while the Top 3 are pretty clear for both teams, the format also includes doubles (and no player can participate in more than 2 matches).
Kanak Jha started things off well for Ochsenhausen, defeating Danny Heister (a 49 year old Dutch player who is a coach and emergency player for Dusseldorf). Calderano needed a rally, but won the last two games to defeat Kallberg 3-2 to put Ochsenhausen up 2-0. Kristian Karlsson easily defeated Kulczycki to put Dusseldof on the board. Kallberg then overcame Kanak Jha in a tight 3-1 match. This left the score 2-2 with only the doubles left.
The Dusseldorf team won pulled out a 12-10 win in the second game to take a commanding 2-0 lead, but Ochsenhausen pulled out three tight games in a row to seal the win. The team of Calderano and Gauzy overcame Karlsson and Walther. The Karlsson/Walther team plays together regularly – but the Ochsenhausen combination is not a likely solution long-term. The rules prevent the No. 1 singles player (who plays two singles matches) from competing in doubles. As Calderano and Gauzy are the top two players, it is likely that one of them will need to play two singles matches – leaving an open slot in Doubles for either Kanak Jha or Samuel Kulczycki.
The top three from both teams are pretty evenly matched, so expect to see a close result each time these two great teams face off. This win moves Ochsenhausen into second place in the Budesliga and it is the first loss suffered by Dusseldorf since December.
Kanak Jha – Danny Heister 3: 0 (6, 8, 9)
Hugo Calderano – Anton Källberg 3: 2 (2, -10, -12, 7, 3)
Samuel Kulczycki – Kristian Karlsson 0: 3 (-11, -3 , -4)
Kanak Jha – Anton Källberg 1: 3 (-9, -7, 10, -9)
Calderano / Gauzy – Karlsson / Walther 3: 2 (-6, -12, 11, 11, 9)
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