Morten Jaksland made a successful start to his weekend in Malta, winning the IWT Malta Open Men’s Doubles alongside Kresten Hougaard and Mixed Doubles title with Christine Seehofer.
There were also IWT Malta Open titles for Zuzana Vancurikova and Richard Hobzik in the Mixed B Doubles, Frank Kleiber and Ulrich Schlepphorst in the Seniors +45 Doubles and Esther Dubendorfer and Lee Gregson in the Seniors +45 Doubles.
The Women’s A Doubles, Men’s B Doubles and Men’s C Doubles will all be completed on Sunday.
Men’s A Doubles: World Doubles Champions Jaksland and Hougaard Triumph
A smaller field than usual in Malta gave a number of lower grade players the chance to step up to the elite level.
Kresten Hougaard and Morten Jaksland were joined in the Men’s A by No.2 seed Patrick Burgi and Roland Pichler. Elsewhere, British juniors Matthew Davidson and Ross Wilson received a wildcard and Michal Kurek teamed up with junior David Ersil.
Ersil and Kurek put up a great account of themselves as they faced the World Doubles Champions in the semi-finals. Despite trailing by +22 after badminton, they rallied to win the squash 21-14 and force tennis. Hougaard and Jaksland got the five they needed to advance to the final.
In the second match, it was the wildcards who produced the shock. The juniors simply outplayed the No.2 seeds across the match. Level through badminton, they pounced on the squash court, winning 21-12 and backing that up with a 13-9 tennis win.
In the final, Hougaard and Jaksland outmuscled their teenage opponents. The Brits managed 11 and 12 in the first two sports but were overpowered in the squash. The Danish duo won by +39 to seal the title. An impressive debut at the elite level for Davidson and Wilson though, reaching their first final.
Mixed A Doubles: Jaksland and Seehofer Dominate
It’s perhaps unsurprising that when two World No.1s team up the results are impressive. Christine Seehofer and Morten Jaksland strolled to the title after two impressive wins.
The pair began by dispatching Nicole Eisler and Ray Jordan +40, winning all four sets to 14 or less. They did lose one set in their second match against Make Fischer and Kresten Hougaard. Fischer and Hougaard snatched the badminton 21-16 to actually lead by two heading into the squash.
However, a 21-7 squash win did the damage for Seehofer and Jaksland, as they sealed the title with a 10-8 tennis win. The bronze medal was taken by Nicole Eisler and Ray Jordan after they defeated Fischer and Hougaard by just three points in a fiercely close match.
Mixed B Doubles: Czech Pair Take Home Title
Zuzana Vancurikova and Richard Hobzik won their second Mixed B doubles title of the season after an impressive day at Marsa Sports Club. The duo opened with a win against Carola Von Heimburg before knocking out top seeds Stine Krogsoe and Roland Pichler.
In the final, they took on Katarzyna Myslek and Keith Lesser. The Polish-British duo had themselves taken out No.2 seeds Esther Dubendorfer and Patrick Burgi in the first round.
It was one-way traffic in the final, with the Czech’s controlling the contest from the start. They snuck the table tennis 22-20 before opening up a 16-point gap with a 21-7 badminton win. A 21-19 squash win left them needing just four in tennis, a scoreline they achieved with ease to win the event.
Seniors+45 Doubles: Experience Shines Through as Kleiber and Schlepphorst Win
German duo Frank Kleiber and Ulrich Schlepphorst demonstrated their racketlon experience as they strolled to the Seniors +45 Doubles title.
Like Jaksland and Hougaard, they lost just one set, with Christoph Bohme and Simon Spiteri winning badminton. Otherwise, Kleiber and Schlepphorst were flawless, brushing both Bohme and Spiteri as well as Jiri Dvorak and Lee Gregson aside to take yet another seniors title.
Mixed Seniors +45 Doubles: Flawless Dubendorfer and Gregson
There was one duo who came through Friday without dropping a set. Esther Dubendorfer and Lee Gregson won all eight of their sets and both matches to win the Mixed Seniors +45 Doubles.
Dubendorfer and Gregson first took down Blanka Charvatova and Svatopluk Rejthar before following that up with a +30 win over Carola Von Heimburg and Jiri Dvorak.
For Dubendorfer this is another trophy to add to an already glistening cabinet. For Gregson though, this was a landmark moment as he picked up his first International title.
The full results from day one of the IWT Malta Open are available here.
The IWT Malta Open singles competition begins on Saturday with a preview of all categories available here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer