The IWT Berlin Open, the first event in the inaugural Victor Racketlon Series, takes place this coming weekend.
Morten Jaksland is the top seed in the Men’s A as he looks to continue his unbeaten start to the season.
In the Women’s A, Zuzana Severinova heads the field as German duo Amke Fischer and Astrid Reimer-Kern fly the flag for the host nation.
Victor Racketlon points are also on offer for the first time as the IWT Berlin Open hosts the first of three tournaments in the Series.
The new Series consists of the IWT Berlin Open, the IWT Latvia Open and the IWT Malta Open. There are a number of prizes available to players who earn the most rankings points across these three events.
The tournament also hosts a packed doubles tournament as the players prepare for the upcoming World Doubles Championships.
Morten Jaksland the Man to Beat at Berlin Open
World No.2 Morten Jaksland leads a packed Men’s A event that features fellow top-10 players Kresten Hougaard, Duncan Stahl and Rav Rykowski.
The Dane is on a 17-match unbeaten streak in singles and doubles in 2019 and is hoping to extend that run in Berlin.
Jaksland is guaranteed to play a German is his opener as Max Plettenberg and Korbinian Heim meet for the honour of facing the top seed.
The other seed in Jaksland’s quarter is current World Doubles Champion Christian Wiessner, who is making his season debut. The duo last played in last year’s World Team Championships, drawing their match.
World No.10 Rav Rykowski headlines the second quarter alongside French badminton star Sylvain Ternon. Like Wiessner, Ternon is making his 2019 debut and will open against either Ray Jordan or Thorsten Lentfer.
Should this section of the draw go according to seeding, Rykowski and Jaksland would find themselves meeting in the semi-finals. The two recently played out an epic contest in the final of this year’s IWT Czech Open, with Jaksland eventually winning by +3. Could they collide again?
Battle of the Presidents in Bottom Half
Current FIR President Duncan Stahl and former FIR President Kresten Hougaard are the two highest seeds in the bottom half of the draw.
Hougaard will open against either Danish compatriot Malte Thyregod or Jack Bishop, neither of which he has lost against before. The other seed in his quarter is Austrian Bernhard Pilsz who will face either Loic Cencig or Steffen Neumann.
In the final quarter, Nicolas Lenggenhager and Cornelius Radermacher collide for the chance to play Duncan Stahl in round two. None of these three players have ever played each other before in singles.
Oliver Buhler faces Michal Horacek in the final first-round match, with the winner advancing to play Latvia’s Arturs Zaicevs.
If the top two seeds in the bottom half – Kresten Hougaard and Duncan Stahl – advance to the semi-finals it will be the first time they have played since the 2017 Malta Open.
Intriguing Women’s A Led By Zuzana Severinova
Czech star Zuzana Severinova is the highest seed in the Women’s A draw as she looks to win her first FIR World Tour A grade singles title.
The World No.5 opens against fellow countrywoman Hana Rabova who is competing in her first Women’s A event.
The second match is an eye-catching one on paper as former World No.2 Amke Fischer competes in her first singles tournament since the 2017 Malta Open. She faces French talent Margaux Randjbar in her opener. Randjbar almost beat World No.3 Nicole Eisler earlier in the year – can she cause an upset against Fischer?
The third match features last year’s World Championship runner-up Astrid Reimer-Kern. The German’s return to action will start with a match against badminton star Melodie Parrot, competing in just her third FIR World Tour event.
World No.7 Anna-Klara Ahlmer is the No.2 seed at this event and she opens against Viktorija Ratacova. After winning the recent Swedish National Championships, she will be looking to carry that form onto the international stage.
World Doubles Championship Warm-Up
Plenty of players are using the IWT Berlin Open as a perfect warm-up for this month’s World Doubles Championship. However, there are only four exact partnerships playing in both the A grades in Berlin and Belgium.
Morten Jaksland and Kresten Hougaard are the top seeds in Berlin. The duo have already claimed the IWT Club La Santa Open title this year and are looking to add to their collection. They have to navigate past a tricky opener though against Duncan Stahl and Cornelius Radermacher.
As with the Men’s A Doubles, there is just one exact pair competing in Berlin and the World Doubles Championships. French duo Melodie Parrott and Margaux Randjbar are competing together for the third time as they open against Hana Rabova and Viktorija Ratavoca.
The Mixed Doubles perhaps holds more intrigue with two World Doubles Championships pairings in action in Berlin.
Top seeds Zuzana Severinova and Morten Jaksland, as well as second seeds Astrid Reimer-Kern and Kresten Hougaard, play in the Berlin Open as a warm-up for the World Doubles Championships. If either of these two pairs wins the Berlin title it will no doubt serve as a confidence boost before Belgium.
We’ll also be bringing Live Blog Coverage of all three days of the tournament, including Facebook Live coverage of select matches including the Men’s A and Women’s A singles finals.
Full results from the IWT Berlin Open can be found here throughout the weekend.
The full FIR World Tour is available here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer