A dramatic Saturday at the Roehampton Club saw World No.1 Morten Jaksland suffer his first on-court singles defeat of the 2019 season.
Jaksland was defeated by Leon Griffiths who will face Dan Busby in the final, a repeat of this year’s British Championships final.
In the Women’s singles, PSA Squash Pro Alison Waters’ racketlon debut got off to a flying start as she battled through to the final. She’ll face Amke Fischer who is aiming to win back-to-back tiles as she completes her own comeback.
Men’s Singles: Seeds Battle to Reach Semi-Finals
The biggest story of the day occurred in the Men’s A semi-finals as World No.1 Morten Jaksland suffered his first singles loss of the 2019 season, excluding withdrawals.
The semi-finals consisted of all four seeded players but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Three of the four seeds were challenged in their quarter-final contest.
After beating Oliver Buhler before tennis, on-form Brit Ray Jordan pushed top seed Morten Jaksland. Jordan won the table tennis and squash to force a full tennis set. Jaksland was able to win the tennis 21-6 but it was an impressive performance from Jordan.
Third seed Benjamin Graenicher held off a spirited comeback from fellow countryman Christian Schaefer. Graenicher won the first two sports 21-11 and 21-12 before Schaefer won the last two 21-17 and 21-12. Graenicher’s head start gave him the win, but only by six-points.
The closest to a shock came in the final Men’s quarter-final. Koen Hageraats, new to racketlon in 2019, almost pulled off a remarkable shock against No.2 seed Dan Busby. Hageraats led by +20 after badminton and then by +4 into tennis. Despite trailing by only one point at the change of ends, Hageraats could not cope with Busby’s tennis, with the second seed winning 21-13 and by four points.
Men’s Singles: Jaksland Suffers First Singles Loss of the 2019 Season
The standout match from the semi-finals saw a repeat of the IWT Latvian Open final as World No.1 Morten Jaksland faced U21 World Champion Leon Griffiths.
Griffiths lost that match in Latvia by one point and was determined to get his revenge. The Brit made the faster start, winning the table tennis 21-18.
Where he really came alive though, was in badminton. Griffiths raced 16-0 ahead and, for a period, it looked like he might bagel Jaksland. The Dane rallied to record three late points but a 21-3 win left Griffiths on +21 before squash. If he won squash he would reach the final, defeating Jaksland before tennis.
The squash remained a tight affair until 8-8 when Griffiths suddenly pounced to move 11-8 ahead. From there, he was never caught, beating Jaksland before tennis with a breath-taking squash display.
In the final, Griffiths will play a familiar foe in the shape of Dan Busby. Busby, the No.2 seed, had to fight back to beat No.3 seed Benjamin Graenicher. The Swiss player raced to a 21-9 table tennis before securing his first-ever badminton set win over Busby, 21-19.
However, the Brit responded with a stunning squash display, winning 21-2 to lead going into tennis. As with his quarter-final, Busby was able to secure the win with a resilient tennis set.
On the FIR World Tour Busby and Griffiths have met twice, splitting the head-to-head 1-1. The pivotal result though is at this years British Championships, where Busby beat Griffiths in the final to win his first British singles title.
Alison Waters Shocks Field on Debut to Reach Final
In the Women’s singles, all eyes were on PSA Squash World No.11 Alison Waters. On her racketlon debut, Waters showed her potential for a future career in the sport.
Waters opened her campaign with a seemingly impossible task – against top seed Zuzana Severinova. However, Waters took advantage of Severinova’s nerves, keeping her extremely tight across table tennis and badminton. Severinova won them both but only 25-23 and 23-21.
A four-point lead going into squash was always going to be tough for the top seed given Waters squash prowess. As expected, Waters won the squash 21-0 to flip the script and leave her needing just five in tennis for the upset.
Severinova is a fantastic tennis player but couldn’t deal with Waters short, sliced groundstrokes on the grass. Waters got the five she needed with ease to eliminate the top seed and announce her racketlon arrival.
In the semi-finals, she faced Britain’s Kim Hay. Hay had eliminated Jo Shelley in the opening round and put up a really strong showing against Waters. Like Severinova, Hay won the table tennis and badminton, carrying a +7 lead into the squash.
As a squash player herself, Hay was able to snatch five points on the squash court from Waters in one of the highest quality squash sets the Women’s Tour has ever seen. However, the squash results still left Waters needing 13 in tennis, which she achieved with a 13-13 draw in a scrappy tennis set.
That put Waters in the final – but who would she play?
Amke Fischer is no stranger to fairytale storylines. The German won her first title since giving birth earlier this month at the IWT German Open and is going for back-to-back titles. She opened with a dominant victory over Matilda Parslow before facing No.2 seed Kirsten Kaptein.
Kaptein had won her opened against Hannah Boden by +1 but was no match for Fischer, with the German winning by +27 before tennis.
That leaves us with a fascinating final on our hands. So far, Waters has managed to win a huge amount of table tennis and badminton points which has stood her in good stead for the tennis later on. However, Fischer is a more experienced operator than Severinova and Hay and will look to limit those points for Waters early on.
The Women’s A Singles final will be live-streamed on Facebook at 12:30CET.
The Men’s A Singles final will be live-streamed on Facebook at 14:30CET.
The full results from the second day of the CH London Open are available here.
Recap the whole day’s action by checking out the day two live blog here.
A full report on all non-elite classes, including juniors and seniors, will be coming on Monday as part of our continued attempts to provide more coverage of FIR World Tour events.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer