Saturday to Monday the success of the 2017 Club La Santa Open on the canary island of Lanzarote, was followed up by the second edition of the tournament. The amazing facilities, not only in the racketlon sports, but for all other sports, meant lots of entertainment, especially for the players staying for a week plus. With temperatures above 20 degrees and a strong equator sun, lots of players had the luxury problem of dealing with sunburns, while the players dinner and party Monday evening saw others struggle with hangovers Tuesday morning. All results online on fir.tournamentsoftware.com
The Tournament Director nicked his own tournament
In the Men Elite 8-draw the two top-seeded players made it to the final as defending champion Morten Jaksland got beat Luke Barnes in the semi-final and the Tournament Director, Kresten Hougaard made it by beating Christian Schaefer from Switzerland. Schaefer had the surprise win of the tournament taking out Jesper Hougaard in the ¼-final.
The final between the two Danes was a full 2-hour marathon going back and forth. Kresten (credit: Inge Omey) expectedly took the table tennis to 13, but Morten looked in control of the badminton with an 11-6 lead at the interval. Hougaard clawed his way back into the match with a good second half and stole the badminton to 16 meaning he had a lead of 13 points going into squash. The squash was a brutal battle with neither player wanting to give in, but after a 45 minutes set Morten took it to 15 closing the gap to 7 points. Given Mortens strength in tennis he was now the favourite for the title, but Kresten raced to a 9-4 lead. Morten wasn’t done yet and fought his way back into it with 7 points straight and an 11-9 at the interval. Again, Kresten started well after the break and could close the match out at 15-15.
Bruzgina takes her first World Tour title
Monday afternoon we could put a new nationality to the title list of racketlon winners as Ana Bruzgina of Belarus won the Women Elite. Ana have previously won Antwerp Open in Belgium, but at that time the tournament was a Challenger.
Ana’s win came through a round robin group of 4 players, where she beat top seeded, Kirsten Kaptein, by 11 points, Laura Smits of Netherlands by 17 and Switzerland’s Tanja Omlin by 22. There was a huge drama for second place as the Dutch girls, Kirsten and Laura fought it out. Kirsten needed 4 points to win the match, however in Laura’s best sport. The tennis ended 21-3 and the girls were heading into a deciding gummiarm-point. Laura of course had the advantage by playing the gummiarm at the tennis court and she did not let herself down and won second place.
The favourites wins the doubles classes
The finalists of the Men Elite, Jaksland and Hougaard expectedly won the Men Elite Double, but it wasn’t without a fight as Jesper Hougaard and Malte Thyregod put in a good performance. Hougaard/Jaksland needed 19 in tennis but were behind 14-9 before finally taking control of the match winning it at 19-18.
The Dutch constellation Kirsten Kaptein and Laura Smits won the Women Elite Double, again after big drama and in need of a gummiarm. Laura made it 2 out of 2 in gummiarms in the tournament and took the trophy away from Omlin/Dübendorfer from Switzerland.
Kirsten also won the Mixed Elite, where she was first seed with her partner, Luke Barnes. Only in need of playing 2 points in tennis the entire tournament, the expected win came easier than expected.
Both the Men B and Men C was won by Germans as Markus Klement won the B and Uli Schlepphorst the Men C for the second straight year. One could argue that experienced Uli should play Men B next year.
Uli also participated in the Seniors +40, however here he had to settle for a 3rd place after a 3-point loss to the tournament’s only Swede, Magnus Åberg. Magnus took the title after also beating Manfred Grab in the final. Manfred got his title instead in the +50 where he beat Graham King in the final. Grab and Schlepphorst had teamed up the +45 doubles and took another title here. Esther Dübendorfer got revanche from losing the gummiarm in the Women Elite Double and took both the title in Women Seniors +40 and Women B while Michael and Michael, Skytte Pedersen and Holm Kristensen won the Men B Double.
Back for a third edition?
Again this year, the tournament had attracted the Green Teamers (the instructors at Club La Santa) to test themselves amongst the racketlon players. 5 of them, 3 women and 2 men took up the challenge, and especially in the Women B they did well by finishing 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
Tournament Director, Kresten Hougaard, promises to try and get Lanzarote back on the 2019 World Tour, but it equally depends on Club La Santa. Meanwhile racketlon players longing for sun and racketlon can look for the Malta Open, which again will take place in October.