Franziska/Ovtcharov’s title dream shattered in the World Cup semifinals

For table tennis doubles Patrick Franziska/Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the dream of Germany’s first World Cup gold for 32 years has burst in Durban.

After their surprising victory in the semi-finals, the newly formed duo lost to South Korea’s World Cup runners-up Jang Woojin/Lim Jonghoon 2:3 (7:11, 11:5, 11:8, 9:11, 5 :11) and has to settle for bronze.

At the same time, Ying Han, who is tenth in the world rankings, is the last trump card of the German Table Tennis Association (DTTB) in South Africa in the individual quarterfinals later on Friday afternoon. The 40-year-old challenges China’s world number one Sun Yingsha.

Due to the end for the team Olympic silver medalists Franziska and Ovtcharov, who were formed as an embarrassment doubles due to the injury absence of idol Timo Boll and had only played together once at the German Open 2020 in Magdeburg before Durban, the wait for the first world championship title has been going on since 1989 further. At that time, the legendary triumph of today’s national coach Jörg Roßkopf in Dortmund with Steffen Fetzner, also in doubles, meant the only World Cup gold in post-war history.

However, the entry of Franziska/Ovtcharov into the semi-finals continued a remarkable series of successes of the DTTB: For the fourth time in a row at World Championship tournaments in the five individual competitions since 2017, DTTB athletes have also been on the podium. Most recently, Boll won individual bronze at the 2021 World Championships in Houston/Texas.

After four World Championship finals in team competition, the 34-year-old Ovtcharov returns for the first time from an individual World Championship with a medal. For his partner Franziska, who is four years his junior, double bronze means the second precious metal at an individual World Cup after mixed bronze in 2019 with Petrissa Solja.