Germany’s Ovtcharov wins ITTF Men’s World Cup in Liebherr

As World number one, Ma settles for bronze
World number four, German’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov yesterday became the new champion of the world at the just concluded International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Men’s World Cup held in the Country Hall at Liege, Belgium. He replaced the defending champion, Chinese’s Fan Zhedong, who was absent at the event. World number one, Long Ma, settled for the bronze medal.

In a clash of two Germans in the final, the first since the competition began, Ovtcharov beat world number five, Timo Boll, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2, while Ma defeated Frenchman and World number 13, Simon Gauzy, in 11-5, 11-13, 6-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9.

Boll had denied Ma of a place in the final in the semifinal, defeating him by the narrowest of margins, 6-11, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 12-10.

 At 36, Boll was the oldest player in the tournament, and also competing in his fifth World Cup final. This time he competed against a younger Ovtcharov, who was playing in his first ever World Cup final. Boll was, however, expected to triumph after beating top seeds en route to the final.

Speaking after his hard-earned success, Ovtcharov said: “I could never have imagined a few years ago that I could win the World Cup. I think the support from my family was very helpful because without them I would not have been here today as the champion.

“I am privileged to be listed amongst the World Cup winners. Particularly, I must acknowledge the quality of Timo Boll who defeated two great Chinese players on his way to the final. I could see he was a bit tired. He was not moving very well having played some fantastic matches. I think he deserves the victory as much as I do. I think I will have to go home and celebrate with my family.”

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