(by Steve Hopkins)
With the German Budesliga (TTBL) season underway, many Americans have been following USA’s top player, Kanak Jha, who is joined one of that league’s top teams, TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen. Ochsenhausen has finished near the top in Germany for several years – a strong team where Kanak by ranking is third behind Hugo Calderano and Simon Gauzy.
Ochsenhausen has been in the middle of the pack in points early this season, largely because of scheduling issues, COVID, and the fact that three of their players were a part of the ITTF Bubble in China during the World Cup and Grand Finals events. But in recent days, Team Ox has made a push, and after today’s win is now 4th in the standings. They are now 5 and 1 for the season, tied for the fewest losses overall, though still three wins behind first place Borussia Dusseldorf (and their 8-1 record).
Today’s win was against second place TTC Schwalbe Bergneustadt, and it wasn’t close. Simon Gauzy (World No. 20) started things off with a 3-0 win over Alvaro Robles (World No. 63). Kanak (World No. 28) was next, winning 3-0 over Benedikt Duda (World No. 38). And Hugo Calderano (World No. 6) closed the door on the match with a 3-0 win over Alberto Mino (World No. 77). On paper, Schwalbe was overmatched, though they have logged solid wins on their way to a 6-3 record. Schwalbe arranged their matches so that their lowest ranked player was matched up against Hugo Calderano (the top Ox player), and so that their best player was matched up against Kanak Jha (the third ranked Ox player). The tactics didn’t change the result. In fact, in games is was 9-0 Ochsenhausen as all three Ox players dominated their matches with 3-0 wins.
Congratulations Liebherr Ochsenhausen on moving up in the standings (into the Top 4), and congratulations to Kanak Jha for a solid win over World No. 38. Go OxNation!
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