Reigning 40-year-old German men’s singles champion Timo Boll, looking to build on his record-breaking seven titles, reached the last four at the European Table Tennis Championships in Warsaw.
He took a 12-10, 15-17, 11-8, 11-8, 16-14 victory over Swede Anton Kallberg after covering the entire distance in his previous two matches against Briton Paul Drinkhall and his compatriot German Benedikt Duda.
Boll’s next opponent at the end of the tournament tomorrow will be Mattias Falck, Swedish seed and 2019 world silver medalist.
The eighth player in the world was the first to reach the singles semi-finals in Warsaw.
Falck beat fellow Swede Jon Persson 11-2, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6.
Meanwhile, Boll’s compatriot Dimitrij Ovtcharov, like Boll a former number one and in pursuit of a third European title, reached the bottom four the hard way with an 11-7, 11-7, 11-9, 9 -11, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8 victory over Lobomir Jancarik of the Czech Republic.
Jancarik had previously beaten highly regarded French player Simon Gauzy in back-to-back matches.
Ovtcharov’s next opponent, Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, enjoyed a more direct progression to the semi-finals with a 5-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6 victory over Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, silver in men’s singles. medalist in 2018.
Five Germans and five Swedes had reached the last 16.
Women’s singles 25e Home player Natalia Bajor nearly reached the quarter-finals as second seed Petrissa Solja of Germany finally beat her 16-18, 8-11, 11-2, 11-8, 9- 11, 13-11, 11- 9.
Solja’s compatriot Sabine Winter, 37th seed and one of the few remaining qualifiers in the title race, defeated number three seed Han Ying in an all-German encounter 11-9, 12-10, 9 -11, 11-9, 12- ten.
Sweden’s Linda Bergström also reached the bottom eight, beating Slovak mixed doubles finalist Barbora Balazova convincingly 11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4.
Balazova and her partner Lubomir Pistej were beaten 11-9, 11-8, 11-6 by the Germans Qiu Dang and Nina Mittelham.