Defending champions Morten Jaksland and Christine Seehofer are both still in contention at the 2019 SWT King of Rackets.
Jaksland faces Cornelius Radermacher in the semi-final today while Seehofer takes on experienced German Silke Altmann.
Jaksland Impresses on Opening Day
Newly crowned Men’s Doubles World Champion Morten Jaksland looked every bit the top seed on the opening day as he cruised through his opening two matches to reach the semi-finals. The Danish World No.2 comfortably dispatched Sweden’s Rene Lindberg before finding a tougher test in Duncan Stahl in the quarter-finals.
Stahl won a bruising squash set but the early damage done by Jaksland, whose 21-9 badminton win proved pivotal in the end result.
Jaksland’s opponent, Cornelius Radermacher, had an equally impressive day. The German cruised past Benoit Mavoungou before taking down No.8 seed Michal Horacek and No.3 seed Dan Busby.
Perhaps more impressive than the wins themselves is the fact that Radermacher achieved all three without lifting his tennis racket out of his bag.
This was supposed to be the bronze medal match at the IWT Berlin Open but we were denied this as both men were struck down by illness. The two have met once before in singles, with Jaksland winning at last year’s IWT German Open, but only by nine points.
Jaksland needs the win if he is to retain his King of Rackets crown.
The bottom half went to seeding, with No.2 seed Kresten Hougaard facing No.4 seeded Finn Luka Penttinen. For Hougaard though, this was not an easy day.
After his exploits in the World Doubles Championships, Hougaard looked notably tired in his quarter-final win against Paul Sach. He came through by 12 points but found himself against Luke Griffiths in the semi-final.
15-year-old Griffiths had mad quite the impression in his international Men’s A debut, defeating Alistair Prades and then No.7 seed Arturs Zaicevs before tennis. The Brit then gave Hougaard a real scare, getting to 14 in tennis before Hougaard managed to reach the six he needed to advance to the semi-finals.
Penttinen, on the other hand, strolled relatively easily through the draw. He first took down Korbinian Heim before facing surprise quarter-finalist Adolphe Fernandez-Diez. The Belgian thumped Penttinen at table-tennis before Penttinen returned the favour in badminton and squash, needing just six in tennis which he got with ease.
Despite both playing regularly on the FIR World Tour, Penttinen and Hougaard have never met in a singles match. It will be interesting to see how much energy Hougaard has left after a physically and mentally gruelling Saturday.
Can anyone stop Seehofer at the King of Rackets?
The big question, as with every tournament she enters, is can anyone stop Christine Seehofer? Silke Altmann will be the first to have a go in the semi-finals. Altmann came through two hard-fought battles to reach the semi-finals, defeating Lieselot De Bleeckere by five before following that up with an impressive +8 win over No.4 seed Anna-Klara Ahlmer.
Seehofer faced Amke Fischer in her quarter-final and, despite an early table tennis scare, came through that in typically dominant fashion. It was great to see Fischer back playing singles for the first time since giving birth.
Seehofer boasts a 4-0 winning record over Altmann, including in the SWT King of Rackets final two years ago.
The second semi-final is a rematch of the IWT Berlin Open final from two weeks ago as Zuzana Severinova takes on Astrid Reimer-Kern.
Severinova blasted through the defences of Natalia Prado in the quarter-finals, winning the match before tennis. The Spaniard herself had earlier ended the campaign of returning racketlon star Lilian Druve, the best win of her young career.
Reimer-Kern produced a similarly impressive performance, dropping back-to-back squash bagels on Carola Von Heimburg and No.2 seed Bettina Bugl as she extended her current winning streak to five matches.
The German boasts a 3-0 head-to-head record against Severinova, most recently at last year’s IWT Berlin Open. Can the Czech youngster learn from that experience and challenge Reimer-Kern in the semi-finals.
If the final ends up being Seehofer against Reimer-Kern, then that will be a repeat of last year’s World Championship final, which Seehofer won to pick up her second crown.
Catch up on the whole day’s action by revisiting Saturday’s Live Blog.
Full results from Saturday at the King of Rackets are available here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Alistair Prades