For the first time this year, we’re going to examine the World Tour Race to see which players are leading the way in 2019.
Kresten Hougaard is the leader in both the Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles, with Morten Jaksland in second in both categories.
The Women’s Singles and Doubles are both topped by Zuzana Severinova with Christine Seehofer in second.
Meanwhile, Peter Sakovics leads the Senior Singles and Doubles standings.
It should be noted that this article does not include points from the recent IWT Latvian Open, which will be added on the 1st August.
Men’s Singles: Kresten Hougaard Leads with Morten Jaksland Chasing
With four consecutive finals and a title at the IWT Swiss Open, Kresten Hougaard leads the way. The Dane has had a remarkable season given he has also been battling a number of injuries – one of which saw him forced to withdraw from the SWT King of Rackets final.
Trailing him in second place is fellow-Dane Morten Jaksland. After years as one of the Tour’s great challengers, Jaksland has stepped out into the limelight in 2019. He is the new World No.1, ending Lukas Windischberger’s 22-month reign at the top of the pile. Despite winning three of the four tournaments he played before this month, Jaksland trails Hougaard as he has played one less event.
As it stands Hougaard is on 4,886 points with Jaksland around 350 behind on 4,538. That gap will close significantly in the next set of rankings as the IWT Latvian Open points are added. He can add that trophy to the IWT Club La Santa Open, IWT Czech Open and SWT King of Rackets that he’s already collected this year.
There are four more of the World’s top-10 in the top-10 of the World Tour Race rankings. World No. 6 Arnaud Genin is in at No.3 after picking up the IWT Vienna Classics. After making his breakthrough in 2018, Genin has been busy this year, with a bronze medal at the Club La Santa Open and a runner-up position at the IWT Swiss Open.
Behind him is Rav Rykowski. The Pole has been exceptional in his three tournaments, winning the IWT Berlin Open and finishing as runner up at the IWT Czech Open and IWT Vienna Classics. In those finals he lost to Morten Jaksland and Arnaud Genin respectively, both of whom are ahead of him in the World Tour Race.
Luka Penttinen is in fifth with a 3rd-place finish at the SWT King of Rackets and IWT Czech Open. Meanwhile, Dan Busby is 6th after coming third at the IWT Swiss Open.
Men’s Singles: Bernhard Pilsz Leads the Outsiders
The four remaining places in the top-10 are all occupied by players ranked outside the top-10 in the World Rankings.
Bernhard Pilsz leads the way with the young Austrian having a stellar year. Making the permanent step-up to elite level this year has paid off for Pilsz, who recently made the semi-finals of the IWT Swiss Open, his best result to date.
Behind him at No.8 is Cornelius Radermacher. The German, who does not play too much on the Tour, is devastating when he does. With two 4th-place finishes in the Men’s A, Radermacher slides in at No.8.
For a long time Rav Rykowski has flown the flag alone for Poland on the Men’s Tour. That may have changed this year with Michal Kurek stepping up and becoming one of the breakout stars.
Kurek has been a regular on the Tour and, after winning the IWT Vienna Classics Men’s C, took the step up to Men’s B. Once there he finished 3rd at the IWT Czech Open before winning back-to-back titles at the IWT Berlin Open and SWT King of Rackets. Now moving up to the Men’s A, what damage can the Pole do?
Switzerland’s Oliver Buhler is the final name to make up the top-10 and he is followed in the rankings by Duncan Stahl, Nicolas Lenggenhager and Malte Thyregod.
Despite being World No.2 currently, Lukas Windischberger is not ranked on the World Tour Race having not played a tournament this year after announcing his retirement from racketlon singles.
World No.5 Benjamin Graenicher is at No.25= after suffering an injury at the IWT Czech Open. Meanwhile, World No.9 Emanuel Schopf sits at No.15 in the World Tour Race.
Women’s Singles: Zuzana Severinova Leads Women’s World Tour Race
Czech Republic’s Zuzana Severinova leads the World Tour Race closely followed by Christine Seehofer and Astrid Reimer-Kern. The three leaders are the only players to have lifted a FIR World Tour Women’s A title so far in 2019.
Severinova boasts 4,031 points after reaching three straight finals, and will only extend that lead next month as the points from her IWT Latvian Open title are added.
Despite winning the IWT Vienna Classics, IWT Czech Open and SWT King of Rackets, Christine Seehofer finds herself in second in the Race having played less tournaments than Severinova. Seehofer is on 3,750 points and is next in action at the SWT Austrian Open in Vienna.
A few hundred points further back on 3,375 is Astrid Reimer-Kern. The German has had a sublime year after winning the IWT Berlin Open and IWT Swiss Open and has truly earned her No.3 spot in the race.
After battling back from a number of knee injuries, Anna-Klara Ahlmer’s first full season back since 2016 has been something of a success. She sits at No.4 in the World Tour Race. After being forced to retired at the IWT Club La Santa Open, Ahlmer battled back with bronze medals at the IWT Czech Open and IWT Berlin Open. Her points will receive a further boost next month when her runner-up points for the IWT Latvian Open are added.
Bettina Bugl is at No.5 but over 500 points behind Ahlmer. Kirsten Kaptein is nearly 400 points behind with Silke Altmann another 100 points further back in No.7. World No.4 Nicole Eisler is in at No.8 to round out the top-10 players in the top-10 of the World Rankings.
Women’s Singles: Randjbar And Fischer Lead Chasing Pack
At No.9 and No.10 is Margaux Randjbar and Amke Fischer, the two players who are not in the top-10 of the World Rankings. With more points coming at the end of this month, Randjbar should climb even higher in the World Tour Race.
Women’s B World Champion Natalia Prado is in at No.11 with Virag Sakovics and Melodie Parrot at No.12 and No.13.
The two players in the top-10 World Rankings who are not in the top-10 of the World Tour Race are Elisabeth Seehofer and Lieselot de Bleeckere. Seehofer is at No.20 after just playing the Vienna Classics and de Bleeckere is at No.34.
Who Tops the Doubles and Seniors Race?
As well as leading the Men’s Singles, Kresten Hougaard is also on top of the Men’s Doubles Tour Race. Alongside becoming the World Doubles Champion, Hougaard has also won the IWT Club La Santa Open alongside Morten Jaksland.
Jaksland is at No.2 with both Danes over 1,700 points ahead of Duncan Stahl at No.3 Closely behind Stahl is another Brit Dan Busby with Luka Penttinen at No.5.
Like Hougaard, Zuzuna Severinova also leads the Singles and Doubles World Tour Race. Having reached the final in every doubles tournament and winning two of them, Severinova has had a sublime doubles year. Christine Seehofer follows Severinova at No.2 with Anna-Klara Ahlmer just behind at No.3.
It’s a similar collection of names in the singles and doubles with Nicole Eisler, Margaux Randjbar and Silke Altmann all in the top 10.
The Mixed Doubles is co-lead by Morten Jaksland and Zuzana Severinova, who have won three of the four tournaments they’ve played before July. Christine Seehofer and Dan Busby are tied-3rd.
Peter Sakovics is dominating the Seniors categories, leading the Men’s Seniors and Men’s Seniors Doubles. Fellow Hungarian doubles partner Zoltan Matecsa co-leads the Seniors Doubles and is second in the Men’s Seniors standings.
Esther Dubendorfer has a huge lead in the Women’s Seniors with 2,760 points. Second behind her is Zuzana Vancurikova with 1,068 points.
The full FIR World Tour Race rankings are available to view here.
Want to get points on the World Tour Race? You can enter any of our FIR World Tour events here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Rene Zwald