Christine Seehofer and Arnaud Genin are both returning to the SWT Austrian Open presented by GRAWE sidebyside to defend their elite singles titles.
Seehofer is the top seed in the Women’s A singles, with top-10 players Zuzana Severinova, Bettina Bugl, Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Elisabeth Seehofer also competing.
Genin is the second seed in the Men’s A singles, with Morten Jaksland the top seed, Rav Rykowski the No.3 seed and Benjamin Graenicher the No.4 seed.
Men’s A Preview: Arnaud Genin’s Title Defence
Last year Arnaud Genin made his breakthrough at this event, winning his first Men’s A singles title. One year later and the French star has risen to World No.5 and is the second seed. Genin is in the bottom quarter and will face either Bernhard Pilsz or Marcel Weigl in his opening match.
The other seed in the bottom half is Benjamin Graenicher. The Swiss No.4 seed could also face an Austrian in his opening match. With all four seeds receiving a bye through the first round, either Emanuel Schopf or Ray Jordan will play Graenicher in the next round. Schopf and Jordan have met twice before, splitting their head-to-head 1-1.
In the top quarter, Oliver Buhler and Nikola Mikac collide for the first time with the winner securing a contest against World No.1 Morten Jaksland in the quarter-finals.
Rav Rykowski is the seed lurking in the second quarter. The 2017 European Champion will open his SWT Austrian Open presented by GRAWE sidebyside campaign against either Michal Horacek or Stephan Schmutzer. Schmutzer is the fourth Austrian in the draw and will be looking to bounce back from the IWT German Open where he was forced to retire through injury.
If the tournament goes to seeding then the semi-finals will be Morten Jaksland against Rav Rykowski with Benjamin Graenicher taking on Arnaud Genin.
Women’s A Preview: Seehofer Back to Defend Title
As she closes in on 100 consecutive singles victories, Christine Seehofer is the clear favourite for the title in Austria.
Seehofer leads a packed field which features the world’s four best players; Christine Seehofer, Zuzana Severinova, Bettina Bugl and Anna-Klara Ahlmer. Interestingly, there are three first-round matches between players of the same nationality.
Seehofer opens against fellow Austrian Irina Olsacher. This is the second time the duo have met this year, after also facing in the first round of the IWT Vienna Classics. Seehofer won comfortably there and will be expecting to do the same again.
No.2 seed Zuzana Severinova also opens against a fellow countrywoman. She plays Zuzana Vancurikova, who is playing in her first Women’s A since the IWT Vienna Classics. How will Severinova bounce back from her first-round loss to Alison Waters at the CH London Open?
There’s another all-Austrian clash as Bettina Bugl plays Elisabeth Seehofer. The duo has a rich history having met a remarkable nine times in singles on the FIR World Tour since the start of 2014. Bugl holds a commanding 7-2 record but Seehofer knows she can beat her opponent. This is arguably the standout match of the first round.
The final match sees Anna-Klara Ahlmer face Stine Krogsoe. The pair have never met in singles but Ahlmer boasts two doubles victories over Krogsoe.
Will the World’s four highest-ranked players reach the semi-finals or will there be shocks in Vienna?
SWT Austrian Open National Television Coverage
With 115 players from 15 nations, including players from the likes of the Philippines, Afghanistan and Iran, the SWT Austrian Open presented by GRAWE sidebyside boasts one of the most diverse fields of the season so far.
There will be live blog coverage of the singles competition on Saturday.
The full SWT Austrian Open presented by GRAWE sidebyside draws and schedule can be viewed here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Racketlon Federation Austria