Duncan Stahl and Cornelius Radermacher produced a stunning tennis set to upset top seeds Morten Jaksland and Kresten Hougaard en route to winning the IWT Berlin Open Men’s A Doubles title.
The duo eventually defeated Christian Wiessner and Thorsten Lentfer +15 in the final to seal the title.
Elsewhere, top seeds Zuzana Severinova and Anna-Klara Ahlmer took home the Women’s A doubles title after triumphing over Margaux Randjbar and Melodie Parrot.
Stahl and Radermacher End Jaksland’s Unbeaten Streak
Morten Jaksland came to Berlin riding a 17-match unbeaten streak in all tournaments in 2019. The form player, he and Kresten Hougaard looked comfortable heading into tennis in their opening match against Cornelius Radermacher and Duncan Stahl.
The Danish pair needed 12 to advance to the next round in the tennis but were stunned 21-7 as Stahl and Radermacher dealt a first loss of the year to Jaksland. The Danes never got into the game and Stahl and Radermacher took full advantage, dominating the net in particular.
This was far from the only close match of the first round. Second seeds Jack Bishop and Alex Du Noyer snuck through the first round with a +1 win over Germany’s Patrick Oettl and Simon Vaclahovsky.
Thorsten Lentfer and Christian Wiessner also had a close encounter. They snuck past Danish pair Jacob Steinmetz and Malte Thyregod by four points, winning the tennis 21-15 to clinch the match.
In the semi-finals, Radermacher and Stahl found themselves against Czech pair Michal Horacek and Jakub Svec. Unlike the first round, this was a routine affair, the experience of Stahl and Radermacher helping them defeat Horacek and Svec before tennis.
The second semi-final was a much tighter affair. Second seeds Bishop and Du Noyer were heavily down early on, losing the table-tennis 21-4. They battled back though, winning the next two sports 21-19 and 21-16 which left the Germans needing 12 in tennis. 12-12 was the final score as Lentfer and Wiessner secured a final berth.
Stahl and Radermacher Dominate the Middle Two Sports
In the final, it was the German pair of Lentfer and Wiessner who made the fast start. They overpowered Stahl and Radermacher to win 21-16 and take a five-point lead.
The lead didn’t last long. Stahl and Radermacher wrestled control from the German pair to win the middle-two sports 21-11 and 21-13. The squash, in particular, was an interesting affair, with Stahl struggling with illness. This forced him to keep rallies short, going for winners he perhaps usually wouldn’t have.
That tactic proved effective though, as Stahl and Radermacher left themselves requiring just nine in tennis.
There was never any danger of the Germans battling back. Stahl and Radermacher kept things tight, ending the match with an overhead to secure the title. For Radermacher, this marked a first-ever Men’s A Doubles title. For Stahl, this was a first doubles title since the Antwerp Open in 2016.
Second seeds Bishop and Du Noyer claimed bronze after beating Horacek and Svec in the third-place playoff.
Severinova and Ahlmer Dominate Women’s A Doubles
Top seeds Zuzana Severinova and Anna-Klara Ahlmer lived up to their billing as the pre-tournament favourite as they won the Women’s A Doubles in style.
The duo opened their campaign with a 21-18 table tennis loss against Ho Ching Chan and Carolina Van Heimburg. That was to be their only blip in the first match as they stormed through the badminton and squash 21-8 and 21-1 to book a spot in the final.
The second semi-final was an equally convincing performance. French pair Melodie Parrot and Margaux Randjbar didn’t drop a set, winning against Hana Rabova and Viktorija Ratacova by +39 before tennis.
That set up an intriguing final between the two seeded pairs. The table tennis was nervy, especially in the first half, with no player wanting to attack the ball. Ahlmer made the switch in the second half, striking the ball with more venom and earning points for her positivity. Ahlmer and Severinova took the table tennis 21-10 in the end.
The badminton went the way of the French pair, with Parrot particularly impressing. Winning 21-11, they cut Ahlmer and Severinova’s lead to just the one point.
Squash proved to be the turning point in the final, as Severinova and Ahlmer blasted their way to a 21-8 victory. That left the top seeds needing just eight in tennis and they delivered, putting on a high-quality display to get an 8-2 win and claim the title.
Hana Rabova and Viktorija Ratacova won bronze after defeating Ho Ching Chan and Carola Von Heimburg in the third-place playoff.
Mixed A Doubles Produces the Match of the Day
The opening round of the mixed doubles looked like it was going to be a routine affair. Top seeds Morten Jaksland and Zuzana Severinova cruised through to the semi-finals. Second seeds Astrid Reimer-Kern and Kresten Hougaard joined them. Amke Fischer was forced to retire which put Hana Rabova and Michal Horacek into the semi-finals.
Then came one final match.
Margaux Randjbar and Max Plettenberg faced Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Malte Thyregod in one of the matches of the year so far.
Each set was as close as the next. Randjbar and Plettenberg won the table tennis 21-16 before Ahlmer and Thyregod took the badminton by the same scoreline.
Randjbar and Plettenberg then took a hugely entertaining squash 21-16 to leave them needing 17 in tennis for the win.
At one point the pair were 7-2 up on the tennis court. At the turn, they still led by 11-7. Ahlmer and Thyregod battled back but at 16-15, Ranjbar and Plettenberg had six match points. Slowly, one by one, Ahlmer and Thyregod saved point after point, before eventually winning the tennis 21-16.
That left us with the first gumi arm of the day. Could Ahlmer and Thyregod complete a sensational comeback? They could, with Thyregod’s big serving forcing Plettenberg to put a groundstroke in the net.
Jubilation for Ahlmer and Thyregod, Heartbreak for Ranjbar and Plettenberg.
Seeds Win the Semi-Finals
The semi-finals, while lacking a sensational comeback and gumi arm, were extremely high-quality themselves. Second seeds Reimer-Kern and Hougaard marched past Rabova and Horacek to demonstrate that they are a pair not to be messed with. It’s worth noting that they are also competing together at the World Doubles Championships.
In the other semi-final, Ahlmer and Thyregod’s fairytale story came to an end as they lost by nine against Severinova and Jaksland. That puts Severinova and Jaksland in with a chance of a third Mixed Doubles title of the season. They face Reimer-Kern and Hougaard in Saturday’s final.
Two other titles were secured on the first day. Graham King and Julien Meister won the Men’s C Doubles while Zolten Matecsa and Peter Sakovics cruised to the Seniors +45 Doubles title, dropping just one set int he process.
The full Live Blog coverage of day one is available here.
The full results from day one are available here.
All FIR World Tour events are available here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer