Astrid Reimer-Kern and Rav Rykowski won the Women’s A and Men’s A titles at the inaugural IWT Berlin Open.
Reimer-Kern defeated top seed Zuzana Severinova to pick up a trophy at her home tournament.
Rykowski battled past second seed Kresten Hougaard to secure his first title since the 2017 European Championships.
Rykowski Conquers Berlin After Semi-Finals Cancelled
The final day was due to begin with two Men’s A semi-finals. However, the tournament was swept by a virus on Saturday night, leaving semi-finalists Morten Jaksland and Cornelius Radermacher forced to withdraw early on Sunday morning.
That gifted Rav Rykowski and Kresten Hougaard a pass straight into the final. With a head-to-head standing at one win each and both players well-rested, this felt like a 50:50 contest heading in.
Hougaard made a predictably fast start, racing through the table tennis to win 21-7. This was Hougaard’s best table tennis winning margin and set him up nicely for the remainder of the match.
Rykowski was clinical in the badminton, keeping Hougaard at bay and forcing him to make mistakes. The Dane put a late flurry together, winning three points late on to ensure he led going into the squash. With Rykowski winning 21-8, that lead was just a single point though.
It didn’t get any easier for Hougaard during squash, as Rykowski quickly raced into the lead. Hougaard refused to go down without a fight, diving on three separate occasions to retrieve the ball. For all his hard work, Rykowski only gave up five points, leaving him needing seven on the tennis court for the title.
Hougaard’s tennis game plan was easy to see from the start. The second seed charged the net at every available opportunity, mostly to great effect. The Dane marched into a 6-3 lead, giving himself a slither of hope that he could complete the comeback.
Rykowski knew he only needed seven so was prepared to take some chances. A couple of Hougaard volleys into the net and a handful of backhand winners brought Rykowski back into the match. In the end, the Pole sealed the win in style, blasting a down-the-line backhand winner to seal a first title in two years.
For Rykowski, this is just his second Men’s A title on the tour following the 2017 European Championships. He also takes the lead in the Victor Racketlon Series Standings after one event. Will we see him in Latvia and Malta to try and add to his total?
Astrid Reimer-Kern Back in the Winners Circle
Managing to survive the virus around the tournament, top seed Zuzana Severinova and Astrid Reimer-Kern followed straight after the Men’s final.
The table tennis was a neck-and-neck affair. Neither player was able to pull more than three points ahead at any point, with Severinova eventually snatching a 21-19 victory.
Badminton followed a similar pattern in the first half. The two could hardly be separated although this time it was Reimer-Kern who edged ahead at the turn. The second half was a massive turning point in the match.
Reimer-Kern won a few points early in the second half and this opened the floodgates. Severinova hardly won another point in the badminton, making some costly errors as Reimer-Kern won 21-12.
That left the German with a seven-point leading heading into her strongest sport, squash. She didn’t look back. Dominating the T throughout, Reimer-Kern stifled any chance of a Severinova comeback. The 21-3 squash victory was enough to confirm the title without needing to pick up her tennis racket.
For Reimer-Kern, this marks a first title since the 2017 Swiss Open. Combined with the Mixed A Doubles title, this was a superb weekend for the German as she prepares for the World Doubles Championships in ten days.
Other Champions on Finals Day
Despite the illness causing havoc on Finals Day, all categories were completed. In the Men’s B, Poland’s Michal Kurek won his first Men’s B title, defeating Patrick Oettl in the final. Top seed David Ersil took the Men’s D title while Jacob Steinmetz beat Peter Sakovics for the Seniors +40.
Jean-Robert Fiori defeated +65 World Champion Steen Hesselbjerg in the final of the Seniors +60. Ed Harvey defeated Martyn Langston in an all-British final to win the Seniors +50 while Dierk Rohwedder took home the Seniors +65 title.
Want to read the tournament reports from the weekend?
Full results from the tournament are available here.
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Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer