This week is not all about the Champions League. There is also the IWT German Open taking place across the weekend in Nussloch.
World No.1 Morten Jaksland is the top seed in a Men’s A that also features top-10 players Kresten Hougaard, Arnaud Genin and Duncan Stahl.
In the Women’s A, Zuzana Severinova is the highest seed, with five players joining her for a fascinating Women’s draw.
After winning last year, neither Lukas Windischberger or Christine Seehofer are returning to defend their titles.
IWT German Open Men’s A Singles: Top Half
A 24-man draw in Germany sees the eight seeded players receive a bye through to the second round. That leaves the remaining 16 players battling it out to join them in round two.
The first match of the tournament pits France’s Loic Cencig against Germany’s Thorsten Lentfer. The winner of this match will advance to the second round to face World No.1 Morten Jaksland.
The second match sees World Mixed B Doubles champion Joerg Kanonenberg against Guus Van De Burgt. No.7 seed Steffen Neumann awaits the winner of this match in round two.
There’s another Dutch-German contest to begin the second quarter as wildcard Koen Hageraats, captain of the Amsterdam Warriors, collides with Marco Genzel. Having only begun playing racketlon last year, this marks Hageraats’ first venture into the elite singles classes. If he manages to beat the established Genzel then he will face No.5 seed Christian Wiessner in the second round.
The final first-round match of the top half is the first of two all-German matches, with Simon Vaclahovsky playing wildcard Frank Schiftner. Fresh from winning badminton gold at the Indian Ocean Island Game, World No.6 Arnaud Genin awaits the winner of this match in the second round.
IWT German Open Men’s A Singles: Bottom Half
The bottom half starts with Nicolas Lenggenhager, who is in the World Tour Race top-10, facing Germany’s Andreas Escher. These two met at last year’s IWT Malta Open, with Lenggenhager winning after sealing the final three sports. No.4 seed Duncan Stahl awaits the winner in round two.
The battle of the wildcards is next on the schedule as Switzerland’s Cyril Hohl takes on India’s Adarsh Narayanaswamy. With both players only starting to play on the FIR World Tour this year, this match could be a fascinating glimpse into two big talents for the future. The champion of this match will advance to face No.8 seed Christian Schaefer.
Stephen Schmutzer, the sole Austrian representative, takes on Damien Andre in an eye-catching first-round match. Schmutzer is a dangerous player, as he proved at this year’s IWT Vienna Classics when he took out top-10 players Kresten Hougaard and Emanuel Schopf. If he beats Andre then he’ll advance to face No.6 seed, Oliver Buhler.
Finally, the second all-German match pits Cornelius Radermacher against Korbinian Heim in arguably the match of the round. While they have not met in singles, the pair played a breathtaking match at the World Doubles Championships this year. Whoever comes through this tantalising tie will set up a second-round against second seed Kresten Hougaard.
It would not be a surprise to see some seeded players knocked out before the quarter-finals. With the likes of Cornelius Radermacher, Nicolas Lenggenhager, Stephen Schmutzer and Joerg Kanonenberg all lurking in the first round, the seeds will face quite a challenge.
IWT German Open Women’s A: Group A
With six players taking part, the Women’s A draw is split into two groups of three in Germany. Group A features top seed Zuzana Severinova alongside Amke Fischer and Stine Jacobsen. After winning last month’s IWT Latvian Open, Zuzana Severinova will be keen to make it back-to-back titles.
That will not be an easy task though in this group. Fischer has a fascinating head-to-head record against Severinova, leading 4-1 with the only loss coming by way of retirement. However, their last full meeting was over two years ago and Severinova has improved tremendously in that period. Straight away this will be one of the matches of the weekend.
Stine Jacobsen is also not a player that can be discounted. Jacobsen lost her only previous meeting against Fischer, but only by five points. While she has not played Severinova in singles she has notable scalps over Natalie Paul, Lieselot de Bleeckere and Izzy Bramhall. All three matches in this group will be intriguing encounters.
IWT German Open Women’s A: Group B
Group B doesn’t get any less interesting and competitive. Led by No.2 seed Anna-Klara Ahlmer, it also features U21 World Champions Hannah Boden and rising player Margaux Randjbar.
Ahlmer, who comes to Germany following an appearance in the final of the IWT Latvian Open, will fancy herself as the favourite in this group. The Swede boasts a 1-0 head-to-head lead over Randjbar and, while her head-to-head with Boden is tied at 2-2, she has won the last two, most recently at last year’s World Singles Championship.
That said, all of the previous matches between Ahlmer and Boden have been tight contests so we shouldn’t expect anything less. Boden also boasts a 2-0 head-to-head over Randjbar, although the French player is improving tournament-by-tournament.
If the tournament goes to seeding then we could be set for our second Severinova versus Ahlmer final in a row. There’s every chance we could have a shock though, with all six ladies standing a reasonable chance of reaching the final.
IWT German Open Men’s and Women’s B
The Women’s B draw may only contain four players but there is plenty of talent on show. Three of the four entrants – Tanja Omlin, Maxi Karg and Matilda Parslow – have already won a Women’s B singles title this season. Could the fourth player, Heidi Gebhardt, throw a spanner in the works by denying one of these ladies a second title?
Roland Pichler leads the Men’s B draw with Markus Klement, Johnny Bispham and Bastian Holzhauser the other three seeds. Klement is the only player to have won a Men’s B singles title already this year after winning the IWT Club La Santa title. Outside of these four Guidi Weijel and Patrick Oettl are names to keep an eye on after both reaching singles finals in 2019.
IWT German Doubles categories will take place on Friday, 2nd August, along with the first leg of the Racketlon Champions League.
IWT German Open Singles categories begin on Saturday, 3rd August.
You can follow the results as they come on tournament software.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Inge Omey