Borussia Düsseldorf flexes their muscles and beat Russian side TTSC UMMC in the first leg of the quarter-final in straight matches. Mental strength does make the diffenrence in Yekaterinburg.
Sometimes things depend on steady nerves in table tennis. And Anton Källberg seemed to have a whole bunch of them in his sports bag before the first leg of the quarter-final in the Table Tennis Champions League Men (TTCLM). Afer losing several game points in game two and three, the young Swede kept his head and left former Bundesliga player Andrej Gacina chanceless in the decider (11:2).
An so it was a clear 3-0 away win for Borussia Düsseldorf against the Russian champion TTSC UMMC, that makes an excellent starting position for the second leg in Germany on February 9. At the ARAG CenterCour, five games or one single match would do to enter the semi-final. "This has been an outstanding team performance against a very strong opponent," cheered Borussia's coach Danny Heister. "I'm very proud of the team. But we are not through yet and have to be on guard in the second leg, too." It was world's number three Timo Boll, who scored the quick opener for the guests that have already been in Russia since Tuesday. Boll prevailed against the Japanese Maharu Yoshimura in three straight games.
Karlsson: "We were mentally stronger"
But for Kristian Karlsson is was just as close as for his Swedish compatriot Källberg. Against Alexander Shibaev, Karlsson was down 2:6 in the second game, but turned tables and eventually lead 2-1 – just before the Russian forced him into the decider. But what was true for Källberg, was true for Karlsson as well this Wednesday afternoon: Steady nerves made the difference. "Despite the 3-0 it was unbelievably close today. We were mentally stronger in the deciding moments," said Karlsson.
TTSC UMMC – Borussia Düsseldorf 0-3
Maharu Yoshimura – Timo Boll 0-3 (5-11, 9-11, 3-11)
Alexander Shibaev – Kristian Karlsson 2-3 (11-8, 8-11, 6-11, 11-9, 9-11)
Andrej Gacina – Anton Källberg 2-3 (6-11, 13-11, 12-14, 11-7, 2-11)
Header photo: BeLa Sportfoto