Timo Boll has secured an individual World Cup medal for the second time in his career.
Despite a painful abdominal muscle strain, the 40-year-old made it to the semi-finals of the Table Tennis World Championships in Houston with a 4-2 win over the American Kanak Jha.
Since third place is not played out extra at a World Cup, Boll can no longer take the bronze medal.
It could be silver or even gold if he now wins against 19-year-old Swede Truls Möregardh.
The semi-finals begin on Monday night at 1:50 a.m. German time.
"Table tennis can be that crazy," said Boll.
“I didn't know anymore whether I shouldn't just quit.
The feeling wasn't nice anymore.
But I wanted to try everything and not blame myself for not having given everything in a World Cup quarter-finals. "
The record European champions from Borussia Düsseldorf have been struggling with abdominal muscle complaints since the beginning of this week of the World Cup.
So far they had hardly affected him at this tournament.
Before the duel with the 19 years younger Jha the pain got worse.
"A difficult game for Timo"
Driven by his own audience, the American won the first set 11: 4. Boll then got a one-sided second (11: 5) and a hard-fought third round (12:10), which steered the match in his direction. In the end, he used the first of three match points against the outsider who played for TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen in the Bundesliga. “That was a difficult game for Timo. He's already handicapped and you can feel that he's tormenting himself, ”said national coach Jörg Roßkopf. “But he has the quality. He really wanted the medal. "
The star of Borussia Düsseldorf has already topped the world rankings four times, has won eight European titles and six World Cup medals with the German team.
At the Olympic Games or World Championships, however, he has only won the bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships in Rotterdam.
“At that time I was DTTB Vice President and traveled to Rotterdam privately.
That was a great experience.
Today a dream came true that I was allowed to be there when he repeated this result, ”said the German association boss Michael Geiger.
"And there are still other options open."
At this World Cup, Boll also benefits from the fact that a number of well-known players failed early in his half of the tournament: Vice World Champion Mattias Falck (Sweden), the number two seeded Japanese Tomokazu Harimoto or the Olympic semi-finalist Lin Yun-Ju (Taiwan). "We saw the draw and knew what was possible," said Roßkopf. Boll could only meet a Chinese again in the final. World number one fan Zhandong and his compatriot Liang Jingkun contest the second semifinals.
But first of all, Boll has to get fit for his own semifinals.
His opponent Möregardh threw, among other things, the German team EM winner Patrick Franziska and in the quarter-finals also the world number 17.
Quadri Aruna out of Nigeria.
"Toni and Birgit now have enough work ahead of them," said Boll, referring to the German team doctor and his physiotherapist.Keywords: