A New Force From Finland Emerges
Henrik Mustonen from Finland, current professional squash player on the PSA World Tour, competed as a wildcard in the Men’s A at his home IWT tournament last weekend and shocked the field by taking home the title.
Any thoughts that he must have had an easy draw are also definitely not true as in the first round he faced none other than hot tournament favourite Rav Rykowski from Poland who is the current European Champion and recently finished 4th at the World Championships in Zurich.
Using a very awkward Table Tennis technique and a bat which negated all his opponent’s spin, Henrik was able to make a lot of invaluable points at Table Tennis (which may be his weakest sport). An incredible 21-12 win at TT against Rykowski immediately meant that Henrik had given himself a genuine chance of an upset. However, Rykowski’s well known skills on the badminton court were able to overcome Henrik’s impressive speed and agility. A 21-5 win and the Pole went to the squash court 7 points up but now had to face a player who had reached a career high world squash ranking of no.35.
Rykowski is an incredibly talented squash player himself with fantastic hands, great deception and an ability to hit nicks from all over the court, but Mustonen was ready and supremely focused, giving Rykowski very little chance to show his array of skills. A 21-6 squash win to Mustonen meant that the Finn needed 14 points at tennis to pull off the biggest Racketlon shock in many years.
The shock win was duly delivered with an accomplished 14-12 win, showing that tennis was probably Mustonen’s 2nd strongest sport.
Mustonen then when on to beat fellow Finn and ex top ten player Marko Valimaki to take his place in the final where he would meet up and coming Swede Rene Lindberg who himself had caused an upset in the first round beating the no.1 seed Luka Penttinen with an impressive +15 win.
Having seen the destruction that Mustonen had caused in the draw so far, Lindberg, a tennis specialist, knew he needed to win the table tennis and the badminton so that he could take a lead onto the squash court where he was unlikely to be able to score many points. A very tight TT win, 24-22 to Lindberg but then an 18-21 loss at badminton meant the Swede was -1 going to the squash court, where Mustonen continued his dominance with a crushing 21-1 victory. This left the Finn needing just 1 point at tennis to take his maiden Racketlon World Tour title, which he duly did and in doing so, Henrik Mustonen has well and truly announced himself on the world racketlon scene and he will certainly be name that the top players in the world will be hoping to avoid in future draws!
Anna-Klara Ahlmer Takes First Tour Title Since Injury
Anna-Klara Ahlmer lived up to her billing as tournament favourite and no.1 seed to completely dominate the Women’s A draw in Helsinki. After a long recovery from a serious knee injury the Swede has been climbing back up the rankings and is now back in the top 20 and it’s only a matter of time before she returns to the top 10.
With her movement and strength returning, Anna-Klara was too good for the women’s field in Helsinki, only losing one set of sport in the whole tournament (and even that was tight: 21-23 at TT to Esther Dubendorfer from Switzerland!). Beating home favourite Anna Wall in the final, Anna-Klara adds herself to a list of famous Swedish winners at the Finnish Open.
All other results from all the other classes can be seen HERE at what was another very successful Finnish Open at a fantastic new racketlon venue in Helsinki.