Benjamin Graenicher beat both the defending champion and World No.1 on his way to lifting the SWT Austrian Open presented by GRAWE sidebyside Men’s A Singles title.
The title in Austria is Graenicher’s first since the 2016 IWT Winners’ Events Turkish Open.
In the Women’s A, Christine Seehofer defended her title once again, beating Zuzana Severinova in the final before tennis.
Men’s A: Seeds all Reach Semi-Finals
It was an action-packed day for all players with all singles finals taking place on Saturday. That meant that, in the Men’s A, all players would play three matches – from the quarter-final stage onwards.
The quarter-finals went very much to plan, with all four seeded players advancing to the semi-finals. Morten Jaksland, Rav Rykowski and Benjamin Graenicher all won before tennis, beating Oliver Buhler, Stephan Schmutzer and Emanuel Schopf before tennis.
Second seed Arnaud Genin was taken to tennis by Bernhard Pilsz but was able to get over the line with the five points he needed.
The semi-finals were both thrilling matches. Morten Jaksland and Rav Rykowski have a rich history, with two meetings in the last 12 months. Jaksland won their only meeting this year and was on hand to do it again today.
The Dane won the table-tennis 21-14 to lead into badminton as expected. Rykowski always wins the middle two sports. However, today Jaksland scored the most amount of points he’d ever done against Rykowski in both badminton and squash, getting 11 and 17. That left Rykowski needing 17 in tennis. That was always going to be a challenge and Jaksland strolled to a tennis win to book his spot in the final.
The second semi-final pitted No.4 seed Benjamin Graenicher against No.2 seed Arnaud Genin. Genin won the badminton 21-2 but Graenicher won the other three sports in a hugely impressive display. Graenicher took the table tennis 21-5 and followed that up with a 21-19 squash win. That left a full set of tennis to decide the winner. Graenicher showed his experience, battling to a 21-14 win to reach his first singles final since 2017.
Men’s A: Graenicher Back in the Winners Circle
Jaksland also had to play the Men’s Doubles final – which we’ll review later – before the Men’s A singles final. That left the World No.1 exhausted and slightly injured heading into the final.
Graenicher made the most of his opportunity, forcing the wounded World No.1 to move more than he would have liked. After taking the table tennis 21-10, the Swiss star followed it up with a brutal 23-21 badminton win. If Graenicher could keep Jaksland below 13 in the squash, he would win his first title in over three years.
Jaksland made a good start to the squash set but couldn’t sustain his level. His injury impacted him and Graenicher capitalised, winning 21-12 with a series of drop shots. That victory gave him a +22 lead and the title.
Having spent much of this season injured, this is a superb achievement for Graenicher and marks him as yet another contender with the World Championships looming.
Women’s A: Seehofer Continues her Austrian Open Reign
Christine Seehofer’s reign in Austria continued as she retained the SWT Austrian Open presented by GRAWE sidebyside once again. After failing to pick up a doubles title on Friday, there were some questions about what sort of form she was in. The Austrian answered those in serious style.
She cruised through her opening round, defeating fellow Austrian Irina Olsacher. In fact, the four women ranked from No.1 to No.4 all won comfortably to reach the semi-finals. Anna-Klara Ahlmer dismantled Stine Krogsoe, Bettina Bugl beat Elisabeth Seehofer and Zuzana Severinova progressed past Zuzana Vancurikova with relative ease.
In the end, the two semi-finals also ended up being routine affairs. Ahlmer put up a good fight against Seehofer and forced her to tennis for only the second time in their careers. However, Seehofer still made the final, reaching the three tennis points she needed.
In the bottom half of the draw, Severinova was impressive against Bettina Bugl, the player she replaced as World No.2 at the start of last month. After losing the table tennis, Severinova battled back to win the badminton and squash 21-9 and 21-4 to book her spot in the final.
For this third time this season, Zuzana Severinova and Christine Seehofer would meet in a final. The storyline was the same. Seehofer dominated the opening two sports, winning 21-5 and 21-9. Although Severinova won the squash 21-17 it was not enough. Once again, Seehofer won before tennis.
Four finals and four titles this year for Christine Seehofer as she continues to close in on 100 consecutive singles victories. Can anyone stop her at the World Singles Championships?
Men’s Doubles Final: Jaksland and Stoisser Win Epic Final
One of the reasons Morten Jaksland was so exhausted in the singles final was due to the epic Men’s Doubles final. The best racketlon matches are those that are close across all four sports and this was certainly one of those.
The final pitted the two-seeded pairs against each other; top seeds Morten Jaksland and Georg Stoisser against Marcel Weigl and Lukas Windischberger. It ended up being one of the tightest matches of the year.
Weigl and Windischberger snuck the table tennis 21-19 before their opponents retaliated with a 21-18 badminton win. Weigl and Windischberger took the lead again, however, winning the squash 21-19 to take a +1 lead into tennis. A full tennis set was required to decide the winner.
The watching fans got their money’s worth. After a marathon battle, Jaksland and Stoisser held their nerve in the tennis, winning 21-18 to win the match by just two points. No set had less than 18 points in them. An epic racketlon match.
The full results from the SWT Austrian Open presented by GRAWE sidebyside are available here.
A full report from the other categories including juniors and seniors will be published in the coming days.
You can relive everything from the SWT Austrian Open presented by GRAWE sidebyside finals day by reading the Live Blog.
Friday’s doubles report is available here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Georg Stoisser