(by Steve Hopkins)
With the Bundesliga in full swing in Germany, Liebherr Ochsenhausen has regained sole possession of second place with their third win in a row. *It will take a much longer streak to catch Timo Boll’s Dusseldorf Team (which remains undefeated in 2021 thus far), but all that the Ochsenhausen team needs to do is remain in the top 4 so that they are a part of the final playoffs.
This week it was Ochsenhausen against TTC Zugbrucke Grenzau. The Grenzau team features Pletea, Sgouropoulos and Karakasavic. They are a second tier team without any player ranked as high as the top three at Ochsenhausen. This week, however, it was USA’s Kanak Jha who was left out of the lineup to rest. The top two, Hugo Calderano and Simon Gauzy, cruised. Hugo won his match over Pletea 3-1. Next up was Gauzy who defeated Sgouropoulos easily 3-0.
The most interesting match was between Ochsenhausen’s youngest player, Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki and an older Grenzau player, Aleksandar Karakasevic, a name familiar to American fans as he has won two US Open titles. Karakasevic is past his prime, where he was sometimes in the World’s Top 25 – but he is still a respectable No. 114 in the rankings. Kulczycki is ranked No. 360, but he has moved more than 80 spaces up in the World Rankings in the last year and his shot-making from both wings is the sort of potential that has been turning heads in the German League.
Karakasevic won the first and third games – but Kulczycki answered both times. The fifth game started slow, but after being tied at 2-2, the young Pole dominated the pace and pounded winners deep to both corners. Samuel Kulcycki for the 3-2 win, and Ochsenhausen rolls for the easy 3-0 win.
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