Western Massachusetts was abuzz with racketlon this past weekend as the second annual Massachusetts Racket masters took place at Smith College. There were more entries, the standard was far higher than the prior year, and the tournament attracted entries from Russia, Great Britain, Germany, Canada and Sweden, as well as the US.
First Tour Title for Maldre & Busby Defeats Canada!
The men’s elite bracket featured three of Canada’s strongest players as well as England’s Dan Busby. Dan was able to successfully fend of both Jeremy Easterbook and Jasmin Felix before matching up with Canadian #1 Patrick Laplante. Things were close after the first two events with Patrick taking the table tennis to 16 and Dan the badminton to 18. Dan subjected Patrick to some punishing rallies on the squash court and was able to hold the Canadian to just 6, meaning he needed 9 on the tennis court. Patrick led throughout, and built up enough of a lead to keep things tense, but in the end he came up short with tennis ending at 16 – 9 and Dan winning by 6.
In the women’s elite, veteran players Katrin Malde and Carola Von Heimburg were both able to win their round robin groups before going head to head in the final with Katrin holding on in tennis to secure her first FIR singles title. Canadian Line Bellerose finished 3rd.
Swedes Dominate the B Class
There were a total of 17 entries in the B Class of the men’s singles, leading to the creation of two seperate draws. In the B1 draw of eleven, the experienced “team Sweden”(Pontus Olofssun and Isak Enstrom) proved too strong for the rest of the field. They faced of in an intense final that went right down to the wire, with Isak holding on to take the tennis 23-21 and a 3 point victory.
Canadian Seniors Take Control
Saturday’s play was followed by a well attended players dinner, and Sunday mornings late start time was appreciated by all. In the senior bracket, #1 seed Andy Stenson was on track as he looked to defend his title before having to bow out in the semi finals with a calf strain sustained in badminton. Veteran Canadian players Marc Fortin and Rod Bedard were featured in the other semi final with Rod holding on in the tennis to earn the 13 he needed. Rod went on to defeat fellow Canadian Robert Loiselle in the final.
Doubles rounded out the tournament with Carola Von Heimburg and Sergei Seregin taking the mixed title over Patrick Moran and Katrin Maldre. Dan Busby picked up his second first place finish, partnering with Patrick Laplante to take the men’s doubles over second place finishers Jeremy Easterbrook and Jasmin Felix. The four elites also treated the crowd to a demonstration doubles squash match on the Sunday afternoon.
Racketlon in North America
Overall it was a great tournament and plans are already in the works to possibly hold an IWT tournament next year which will really put the USA on the Racketlon map! Playing Racketlon in North America is a fantastic experience and it will be great to see more and more international players make the trip over the Atlantic in 2019!