80 players from 17 different countries travelled to the 3rd IWT Malta Open from 6th to 8th October in search of a great Racketlon experience – as the Malta Open (alongside its cousin the Club La Santa Open) are unique events on the FIR World Tour. They offer the players far more than just a tournament. They offer a mix of serious Racketlon competition, beautiful surroundings, great facilities, perfect weather and the chance to enjoy a true holiday experience. All results are now online on fir.tournamentsoftware.com
On the court, the women’s elite draw saw two time defending champion Amke Fischer from Germany suffer an ankle injury during the badminton set of her first match against the quickly improving Zuzana Severinova from the Czech Republic. This immediately opened things up resulting in a final between Zuzana (who also defeated GB’s rising star Hannah Boden) and Astrid Reimer-Kern, who had come past Nicole Eisler and Katrin Maldre.
In the final Astrid nicked the TT 21-18, before Zuzana came back with a solid 21-14 win in the badminton. In order to give herself a chance Zuzana needed to try and somehow make things awkward on the squash court for Astrid to try and leave Astrid needing double figures at tennis (Zuzana’s best sport).
However Astrid’s prowess on the squash court was simply too much and the 21-3 win left her only needing 8 at tennis which she reached with the scores 8-8 to record a very well deserved Malta Open title.
In the Men’s Elite draw, the opening rounds all went with the seedings, as the top 4 seeds all reached the semi finals which saw Morten Jaksland play Dan Busby and Kresten Hougaard (credit:tournament organisation) play tournament director Duncan Stahl. In the first semi, Morten played a very solid opening two sports winning 21-12, 21-18 leaving Dan with a lot to do and even a 21-7 win at squash still left Dan needing 19 at tennis which proved 5 points too many as Morten won 21-14 to move into his first Malta final.
At various points over the years, Kresten and Duncan have both beaten each other at all 4 sports and generally their matches have always come down to just a few points – so their matches are famously very hard to predict! However, this time around Kresten was too sharp in their Sat evening match winning 21-14, 21-16, 21-17, 6-9 to set up an all Danish Sunday final against Morten.
Once again Kresten, who is now based in Malta, looked very sharp in the Sunday lunchtime Final taking the first 3 sports 21-18, 21-12, 21-18 leaving him just 7 points to win the title. Kresten made light work of what could have been a tricky 7 points to win and at 7-7, the Malta Open title was his.
Two all French finals in both the Women’s and Men’s B saw Loic Cencig overcome compatriot Jean-Brice Montagnon and Helene Lechemolle beat Dorothee Gazeau. The Men’s C saw Volker Sach (in what might have been his 33rd match of the weekend) triumph over the irrepressible French dynamo, Fabien Mauroy.
In the vets, the mighty Rickard Persson (who by the way has now played a Racketlon tournament in 17 different countries – can that be beaten?) was too strong winning the 40+ with ease, while Radu Ionescu won a very tight final against Manfred Grab in the 50+ final.
There were other notable wins for Dan Busby and Hannah Boden in the Mixed elite doubles (on a gummi arm) and for Phil Todd and Steffen Neumann in the Men’s B doubles.
As is traditional at the Malta Open, all the extras around the tournament are a real highlight: with players able to relax under palm trees by the huge pool area in between their matches, enjoy a Fri BBQ, a player’s party until the sun came up on Sunday morning , a traditional Sunday lunch and an amazing all day boat trip to the beautiful island of Comino and the Blue Lagoon.
All reasons why the Malta Open remains the friendliest, most sociable and enjoyable tournament on the World Tour!