What a drama – Sweden into the semi final against France

by | 2023-09-15 | EC news

The Swedish men’s European Championship quarter-final against Hungary turned out to be one of the strangest matches in a long time. And what a drama over three hours and 28 minutes! In the end, Sweden emerged victorious after turning 1–2 to 3–2 after Kristian Karlsson went from 0–2 in the set to 3–2 after being down 6–9, 8–10 and 10–11 in the tie. Rarely have the spectators been so engaged in every ball.

– Yes, I had three match points against me, but I managed to keep the focus on the essential, the point, until the end, said a happy Kristian.
He found it difficult to explain the whole dramatic scene.
– I didn’t want to look too much towards the Swedish bench – and Truls. He had done exactly as was expected of him, winning both his matches with only one set dropped – the second, 11–13, against Adam Szudi.
– I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so bad. I had the whole family present in Malmö Arena and that’s how it turned out in the match against Hungary. We were clear gold favourites!

The ranking doesn’t say anything
The current world ranking, which changes every week, is like a big joke. Sorry if we thought so. In the opening match of the quarter-finals, twelfth-ranked Truls beat 115th-ranked Bence Majoros, who was ranked highest among the Hungarians. Nobody could believe that the 275 Adam Szudi could threaten Kristian Karlsson, 37th in the world. But he did – 5-11 in the tie. It was equally unthinkable that the 321 Tamas Lakatos could upset Anton Källberg, the 21st in the world, and win 3–1 in sets. But he did. Then it was Trul’s turn to come to the table again. After losing a set, 11–13 in the second, he utilized his entire wide ping pong repertoire and won the subsequent sets 11–3, 11–4.
Acknowledged and 2–2.
In the end it was Kristian against Hungarian number one Majoros.

The final drama…
After they were both tied at 8–8 in the first set, Majoros took the three final points. In set number two, he went from 2–8 to 11–9. Then Kristian started to find the right track, winning the third set with 11–3 and the fourth with 11–6 after finishing with four victory points.
So the excruciating fifth set where Kristian – and Sweden, of course – had three match points against them but slipped away to victory 13–11. We draw an accurate numerical report from the final set because nearly 2,000 in the stands were in high gear: 2–1, 3–3, 3–4, 5–4, 5–6, 6–7, 6–9, 8–9, 8–10, 10–10, 10–11, 11–11, 12–11, 13–11. Phew…
– There was a lot of life in the hall and this can benefit us in the future, maybe we will reach the top against France, Kristian explained afterwards.
He also lifted his opponent:
– Bence is liked by everyone, but I felt I could get into the game the right way after 11-3 in the third.
Confederation captain Jörgen Persson agreed with the world ranking:
– It says nothing about the actual standard of the players.

EC, men’s quarter-finals
Sweden-Hungary 3–2
Truls Möregårdh-Bence Majoros 11–9, 11–8, 12–10
Kristian Karlsson-Adam Szudi 6–11, 11–7, 10–12, 11–7, 5–11
Anton Källberg-Tamas Lakatos 11–5, 11–13, 11–13, 10–12
Möregårdh-Szudi 11–8, 11–13, 11–3, 11–4
Karlsson-Majoros 8–11, 9–11, 11–3, 11–6, 13–11

The Swedish players’ quotas in the team EC (12–3)
Truls Möregårdh 6–0 (18–3 in sets)
Kristian Karlsson 3–1 (118)
Mattias Falck 2–1 (8–4 in sets)
Anton Källberg 1–1 (4–5 in sets)
Jon Persson

Photo: Manfred Schillings/SBTF

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