Duesseldorf Masters: Third victory for Dimitrij OVTCHAROVPhoto: Marco STEINBRENNER
Dimitrij OVTCHAROV is the winner of the ninth edition of the Duesseldorf Masters. The world number eleven won the final match of the two top seeded players against his national team colleague Patrick FRANZISKA 11:7, 11:8, 7:11, 11:7, 12:14 and 11:6. For Benedikt DUDA and the Swede Anton KÄLLBERG the semi-final was the final stop. The tenth and last Masters before the Grand Final of the eight best (21/23 August) will be held next weekend from Friday to Sunday (14-16 August) at the ARAG CenterCourt.
For Dimitrij OVTCHAROV it was the third Masters victory at the fourth start. Previously, the 2017 World Cup winner had won the tournaments two and three in June. As in the previous rounds, OVTCHAROV left a strong impression in the final. With his powerful shots from the forehand and backhand side, OVTCHAROV won the high class final in six sets. Already in the fifth set of the final the former number 1 of the world had the victory right in front of his eyes, but at the score of 11:12 FRANZISKA fended off a match point of OVTCHAROV. FRANZISKA also started the sixth game strongly, but his opponent did not let him come close to 3-3.
Dimitrij OVTCHAROV was extremely satisfied with his performance: "I am glad that I came back strong after a somewhat longer break in the Masters. The final was a good match in which I had a very good start. I'm happy that after missing my match point in run five, I then turned the important sixth game after trailing 1-4 and won 11-6". OVTCHAROV continues: "Sometimes I have phases in which I play completely without mistakes, but I can't keep up this level. I have to work on that. Nevertheless, I am really happy to have won against Patrick, he is a really strong opponent. That's how it can go on."
Despite his defeat, Masters debutant Patrick Franziska drew a positive conclusion from his first competition appearance in two months: "It was a good final from both of us and I am really happy with my performance. After the short preparation phase we are all in pretty good shape. It's important to have tournaments like the Masters so that you can identify the remaining weak points and work on them in training. I wasn't at all satisfied with my backhand today, but otherwise the first tournament was definitely a good start in returning to competition shape".
Due to his success, OVTCHAROV moves up to ten points to Dang QIU (Gruenwettersbach), who is still leading the Masters overall standings with 170 points. The two current semi-finalists Benedikt DUDA and Anton KALLBERG are level on third place with 130 points. The five best athletes in the points classification automatically qualify for the final tournament of the Düsseldorf Masters on 21 and 23 August, three players will receive a wildcard.
In a German semi-final Dimitrij OVTCHAROV ended the hopes of his national team colleague Benedikt DUDA for the second tournament victory. The 2013 and 2015 European Champion dominated the match against the world's number 39 and won 4-2 after losing the opening game, even though the man from Bergneustadt was down 2-10 in the final round and was able to fend off another six match points from his opponent.
The London 2012 Olympic bronze medalist was satisfied with his performance, except of the opening game: "I didn’t play well in the first game and Bene started strongly. But after that I actually got the game under control quite well and quickly took a 3-1 lead. But it goes very fast in table tennis: One or two moments out of focus were enough and then the fifth game was gone. But after that I got back on my feet. Only when the game was already over, it got a bit tight again. Overall my victory was well-deserved." Benedikt DUDA stated fairly: "Dima played very well today and deserved to win. I had some problems with his serves, so he made some easy points. The result is ok."
Patrick FRANZISKA was the first to qualify for the final with a strong performance. The man from Saarbruecken threw the winner of the eighth Masters edition, the Swede Anton KÄLLBERG, out of the title race. In his six-game win, FRANZISKA clearly dominated three of his four won runs, and only at 13:11 in the last game it became close again against the world number 57th. Franziska commented: "I played much better in the semi-finals than yesterday in my first match. The match against Anton was on a good level from both of us."
KALLBERG, on the other hand, never felt comfortable at the table against FRANZISKA, despite the two won games: "I have never beaten him, it is very difficult for me to play against him. It was close at the end, but actually I didn't feel that I had any real chance, even though I left some good chances behind. But 2:4 is not that bad."
Duesseldorf Masters, 9th tournament (7-9 August)
Dimitrij Ovtcharov GER - Patrick Franziska GER 4:2 (7,8,-7,7,-12,6)
Dimitrij Ovtcharov GER - Benedikt Duda GER 4:2 (-5,3,8,7,-6,8)
Patrick Franziska GER - Anton Källberg SWE 4:2 (3,-5,4,4,-7,13)