(by Steve Hopkins)
No one is surprised that defending champion Borrussia Dusseldorf is in first place atop the German League, though a 6-0 start is better than their start a year ago. Still, their strong roster will have them favored in every match this year – so thus far, the top ranked squad is in first place.
The surprise is Ochsenhausen, who is also 6-0. Ochsenhausen lost the top ranked player in the entire TTBL at seasons end (Hugo Calderano), and they have effectively replaced him with young Polish player Samuel Kulczycki (with Simon Gauzy moving up to be the top ranked player, and Kanak Jha moving up to the second position). An additional surprise for Ochsenhausen is that the doubles team of Samuel Kulczycki and his Polish teammate Maciej Kubik is undefeated this year – breaking a number of ties and helping to preserve the streak.
In the most recent match, Borussia Dusseldorf needed a tight doubles win. Saarbrucken’s Darko Jorgic upset Kristian Karlsson 3-0 in the opening match, Kallberg tied the score by defeating Polansky, Franziska topped Timo Boll 3-2 to put Saarbrucken up again, and then Kallberg narrowly defeated Jorgic 3-2 to put the match through to doubles. In Doubles, it was Timo Boll and Dang Qiu who topped Franziska and Polansky 3-2. Dusseldorf stays undefeated by the narrowest of margins.
Ochsenhausen’s match was not nearly as close. Simon Gauzy topped Alberto Mino 3-1, Samuel Kulczycki upset Benedict Duda 3-2, and Kanak Jha finished the sweep with a 3-0 win over Alvaro Robles.
The TTBL is a team league, but individual accomplishments still matter. Across the whole league, the player rankings are currently (1) Anton Kallberg of Borussia Dusseldorf (7-0), second is German team member Patrick Franziska (7-1), and third is USA’s Kanak Jha (7-2). What a great start for Dusseldof. What a great start for Ochsenhausen. What a great start for Kanak Jha.
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