In the first play-off semi-final, Borussia Düsseldorf celebrate a safe away win against 1. FC Saarbrücken TT, while Simon Gauzy leads his TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen to a victory against TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell.

Patrick Franziska

Could not prevent the home loss: Patrick Franziska (Photo: BeLa Sportfoto)

Patrick Franziska had announced to put some pressure on Borussia Düsseldorf – and delivered in the first singles of the play-off semi-final between the reigning champion and 1. FC Saarbrücken TT on Sunday afternoon. Against Kristian Karlsson, the 25-year-old scored the opener for the hosts and set the course. But Franziska's teammates couldn't keep up, and after Franziska lost his second match it was a 3-1 win for the guests and record champion.

"We often lost here in Saarbrücken, which is why this win is even more remarkable," said Borussia manager Andreas Preuß. "A big compliment to the whole team, which has maintained the excitement the entire weekend." Preuß's words were escpecially meant for Timo Boll, who won both of his matches in straight games. Against Bojan Tokic, the 37-year-old equalized to 1:1, against Franziska he prevailed after two narrow games.

Especially Tokic, who has officially been seen off before the match just like Tiago Apolonia, did not find into the match and was whithout a chance after leading 9:5 in the first game. "There was nothing we could do against Timo Boll today," Saarbrücken's coach Slobodan Grujic had to admit. "But the deciding match was the one between Tiago Apolonia and Stefan Fegerl."

In this one, Düsseldorf's hero of the Champion League match of last Friday scored the third point. After equalizing to 1:1, Apolonia was able to keep the match open, but was inferior in the deciding moments. "Today it was not enough. But we will try one more time in Düsseldorf," said Grujic, whose team will be a guest of Düsseldorf on Sunday, April 15 (3 pm).

Ochsenhausen show reaction

Simon Gauzy

Matchwinner against Fulda: Simon Gauzy (Photo: Roscher)

As positive as the weekend has started für Düsseldorf, the negative it has begun for TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen. On top of that Ochsenhausen's opponent of this sunday's match were TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell who had won eight times in a row beforehand. But unimpressed and with a great fighting spirit, Ochsenhausen stormed into a 2-0 lead before the break. Against Wang Xi, Simon Gauzy, who had been the tragic figure of Friday's match with two losses, set the course for the later 3-1 home win – which he would be sealing himelf later on.

Soon after, Joao Geraldo picked up Gauzy's spirit in a battle with Ruwen Filus. The Portuguese was already leading 2-1, but was missing a matchpoint at 10:9 in the fourth game. Later on, he had two more, but missed them again. It was only in the extension of the deciding game that Geraldo finally prevailed, making it 2-0 for his team. But Jakub Dyjas couldn't keep up and lost to Jonathan Groth after two disastrous first games where the Pole only scored five points.

In the encounter of the top players, the stage was all Gauzy's again. Even though Filus could shorten the Frenchman's lead to 2-1, Gauzy was not willing to let his second win of the day pass. "After the loss on Friday and the long trip back it was not easy for us today," he admitted. "Which is why I'm very happy. It was a great match today." Filus, however, quarreled with the missed chances of his team. "It was very annoying that we weren't able to bring home the the leads that we had. Now we have to tick off this loss, prepare during the week and come back stronger next Saturday." Filus and Co. host Ochsenhausen on April 14 at 6 pm.

The matches at a glance

1. FC Saarbrücken TT – Borussia Düsseldorf 1-3
Patrick Franziska – Kristian Karlsson 3-2 (11-4, 8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8)
Bojan Tokic – Timo Boll 0-3 (9-11, 5-11, 3-11)
Tiago Apolonia – Stefan Fegerl 1-3 (9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11)
Patrick Franziska – Timo Boll 0-3 (9-11, 8-11, 5-11)

TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen – TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell 3-1
Simon Gauzy – Wang Xi 3-2 (10-12, 12-10, 12-10, 5-11, 11-9)
Joao Geraldo – Ruwen Filus 3-2 (11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 10-12, 12-10)    
Jakub Dyjas – Jonathan Groth 1-3 (2-11, 3-11, 14-12, 10-12)    
Simon Gauzy – Ruwen Filus 3-1 (11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9)

Saturday, April 14, 6 pm
TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell – TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen

Sunday, April 15, 3 pm
Borussia Düsseldorf – 1. FC Saarbrücken TT

Header photo: BeLa Sportfoto