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 on Saturday afternoon (local time) 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.
Whether it will turn into silver or even gold will now be decided in the round of the last four, which, according to German time, will be played on Monday night.
"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.
Contested third set
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. "
Well-known players were eliminated early
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.
But first of all, the individual European champion has to get fit again before the semi-finals.
"Toni and Birgit now have enough work ahead of them," said Boll, referring to the German team doctor and his physiotherapist.Keywords: