(by Steve Hopkins)
At age 24, Sweden’s Anton Kallberg is still improving. He has been an important piece of the Borussia Dussledorf team (and their dominance in the German and European Leagues), he has been consistently reaching the top 32 in major tournaments, and his World Ranking which was outside of 100 for most of 2019, is now hovering right around No. 50. This week was a solid step forward for Kallberg, with solid wins over Gardos (3-1), Fanbo Meng (3-0), Ovidiu Ionescu (3-0), Quadri Aruna (4-3), and Dan Qiu (4-0).
Kallberg’s victory was in the WTT Contender event this week in Tunis. The top seeds were Patrick Franziska and Quadri Aruna, but neither made it to the Finals. The other headliner going into Saturday’s Final was Dang Qiu, where both he and Kallberg had seized on some upsets to reach the Final, and where both regularly train together as teammates on the Borussia Dusseldorf squad.
The score in the Final was 4-0 with Kallberg dominating the final tally. That said, the score was actually much closer than the result. The first game was a 13-11 marathon with both players in the lead late with opportunities to win. The second game was very much the same, with players neck and neck until Kallberg won two in a row to win 11-9. Kallberg then road an early lead to an 11-7 win in the third game. And in the fourth, it was back to the original script – with both players tied 10-10, but Kallberg winning the final two points and sweeping all four games.
The Women’s Final was a marathon with the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova winnin gthe first two games 11-9, only to see Xiaoxin Yang of Monoco even the match with two victories of her own. The momentum then shifted greatly as Matelova won a relatively easy 5th game, Yang evened the score with an 11-2 pounding in the 6th, and then Matelova ran away with the deciding 7th game 11-4.
The Mixed Doubles Final was held today with France’s Lebesson/Yuan topping Khanin/Trigolos of Belarus 3-2. The Men’s Doubles Final was a 3-1 win by India’s Desai and Gnanasekaran over France’s Lebesson and Cassin, and the Women’s Doubles title went to Sweden’s Bergstrom and Kallberg and the mixed country team of Moret/Trigolos (Switzerland/Belarus).
Visit ButterflyOnline.com for the latest table tennis news and scores.