Düsseldorf Masters VIII: Källberg Won By Narow Margin
Anton KÄLLBERG is the winner of the eighth Düsseldorf Masters. The Swede beat Benedikt DUDA from Bergneustadt 4:3 in the final game. Duda had won the sixth edition two weeks ago. The Masters series, organised by Borussia Düsseldorf in cooperation with the German Table Tennis Federation (DTTB), will be continued after a one-week break from 7 to 9 August. The final tournament with eight world-class players will be held at the ARAG CenterCourt at the end of August.
At 18:16, 7:11, 11:2, 12:10, 9:11, 9:11 and 4:11, Germany's number 39 in the world delivered a top-class and exciting exchange of rallies with KÄLLBERG, who is noted on position 57.
The German, who was already close to victory after leading 3:1 and 6:2 in the fifth game, congratulated his opponent fairly: "I was still leading clearly, but that didn't mean that much. Because the level was very high all the time. As soon as one of us let up even a little, the other one immediately followed suit. Anton really played at a very high level and therefore deserved to win.”
On the one hand, DUDA was only five points short of victory in the fifth set, on the other, the Scandinavian had previously missed game points in two lost games: In the hard-fought opening game, where the advantage swung cheerfully back and forth between the two opponents until 16-18 in extra time, and in the fourth game, where KÄLLBERG produced a missed service in a 10-9 lead and then had to give up the next two points.
After trailing 1:3, the Swede also played at full risk and was rewarded. KÄLLBERG: "I have the feeling that I stole the game a bit. But I also played a lot of good balls and am very satisfied with my performance. I risked a lot in the end and scored almost everything".
Benedikt DUDA had previously entered the final with a 4-1 victory in the German left-hander duel with surprise semi-finalist Cedric MEISSNER. After 11:5, 11:7, 11:7, 12:14 and 11:7, DUDA praised the U23 international who had unexpectedly defeated the 71st world number one Cedric NUYTINCK (Belgium) in the previous rounds and, after a series of defeats lasting several years, also his fearful opponent from his youth, Tobias HIPPLER (Cologne).
DUDA: "Cedric played well today. He was very aggressive and hit good balls. You can clearly see that he has developed."
The 20-year-old second-division player from Mainz was less satisfied with his performance today, but with his overall results: "The Düsseldorf Masters was very good for me. I won against players who are rated much higher. I also haven't had a win against Hippler since 2015. Unfortunately, today against Benedikt was my worst match at the Masters so far.”
In the other semi-final, the later Masters winner KÄLLBERG proved his good form and kept Omar ASSAR, who had been placed in first place, at a distance of 4-1. After 9:11, 11:7, 9:11, 4:11 and 9:11, the world number 38 from Egypt admitted to having started the game nervously: "Anton was really strong today and played great, he was very active. I myself was somehow very nervous before the match today." Källberg was also satisfied with his penultimate day's performance: "It was a good game with a lot of great rallies, because Omar brings back a lot of balls."
Anton KÄLLBERG'S tournament victory was the first success of a foreign player at the Düsseldorf MASTERS. In the previous editions Timo BOLL (Masters I), Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (Masters II + III), Bastian STEGER (Masters IV), Benedidkt DUDA (Masters VI), Dang QIU (Masters VII) as well as HAN Ying had won the women's tournament. After seven men's tournaments last week's winner Dang QIU, who took a break this time, still clearly leads the overall ranking with 170 points. Four players are now tied for second place: Dimitrij OVTCHAROV and Benedikt DUDA, Anton KÄLLBERG and Omar ASSAR, who also moved up to 110 points this week.
The five best scoring athletes are automatically qualified for the final Düsseldorf Masters at the end of August with eight world stars, three of them receive a wildcard. All tournaments will be broadcast live on Sportdeutschland.TV, Borussia-TV and on tischtennis.de. Before the showdown of the best, after a one-week tournament break from July 7 to 9 and August 14 to 16, two more men's tournaments will be held.
Düsseldorf Masters, 8th tournament (23-25 July)
Final, July 25
Anton Källberg SWE - Benedikt Duda GER 4:3 (-16,7,-2,-10,9,9,4)
Semifinals, July 25
Anton Källberg SWE - Omar Assar EGY 4:1 (9,-7,9,4,9)
Benedikt Duda GER - Cedric Meissner GER 4:1 (5,7,7,-12,7)