(by Steve Hopkins)
Ochsenhausen has started the second half of the German professional league on fire logging three wins already – and jumping up to second position. The other elite teams have had some hic-ups already. Saarbrucken fell on Sunday to Muhlhausen (Habesohn won both of his matches and Steffan Mengel added the third win). Last week, Neu-Ulm fell twice – once to Muhlhausen and once to Ochsenhausen – though the mid-year tournament champion Neu-Ulm squad is primarily inconsistent because their top players have lots of commitments (so stars Ovtcharov, Moregard, and Yun-Ju did not play). Dusseldorf stumbled last Sunday – falling to Bad Koenigshofen (with Boll and Stumper losing singles matches – and Sharath Kamal Achanta and Boll winning singles matches – but with Achanta/Qiu losing the deciding doubles match for the 2-3 loss).
Ochsenhausen is playing without Kanak Jha – but Robles, Kulczycki, Akkuzu, and Gauzy are all playing well at the same time. Right now, Ochsenhausen and Saarbrucken are 2 matches behind Dusseldorf – but both are one ahead of Muhlhausen and two wins ahead of 5th place. The goal is to stay in the Top 4 – and Dusseldorf, Ochsenhausen, and Saarbrucken seem to be in great position already. Neu Ulm – who was a top 4 squad in the first half has fallen to 7-7… quickly digging a hole that could make qualifying difficult.
There are 8 more weeks of matches – so lots of action is still ahead.
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