Both Christine Seehofer and Morten Jaksland could leave the IWT Malta Open as Triple Crown champions.
After teaming up to win the Mixed Doubles, both won their first two singles matches on Saturday to put themselves in prime position.
Elsewhere, there was a Women’s B title for Esther Dubendorfer and a Men’s C Doubles title for Gregor and Vincent David.
Women’s A Singles and Doubles: Seehofer One Win From Title
Christine Seehofer beat both Izzy Bramhall and Amke Fischer to take a huge step towards the Malta title. Seehofer began her day against Bramhall and got off to a fast start. After leading by +20 after badminton, it looked like smooth sailing. However, Bramhall battled back, winning the squash 21-19 and tennis 21-16. Seehofer won the match by +13 overall though, her early work doing the damage.
She followed that up with a more comfortable win over Amke Fischer. Fischer won the table tennis 21-16 but Seehofer wrestled control of the match with a 21-5 and 21-7 badminton and squash set. Seehofer’s two wins mean that if she beats Nicole Eisler on Sunday, she’ll take home the title.
In order to complete the Triple Crown, Seehofer also has to win the Women’s Doubles. She has teamed up with Bramhall and faces a Sunday showdown against Amke Fischer and Stine Krogsoe for the title.
Fischer and Izzy Bramhall will also face-off against each other, probably for second-place in the singles. If Fischer finishes second, she will also end up third on the Victor Racketlon Super Series standings, behind Zuzana Severinova and Anna-Klara Ahlmer.
Men’s A Singles: Jaksland Close to First Malta Singles Crown
Morten Jaksland produced two clinical displays on Saturday to set himself up to win the title on Sunday.
The World No.1 beat two Brits on Saturday, taking out Duncan Stahl by +25 and Ray Jordan by +29. On a near-flawless day, Jaksland dropped just one set, losing the table tennis 21-8 against Jordan.
That leaves him facing World No.2 Kresten Hougaard on Sunday for the title. Hougaard suffered a surprise on Saturday though. After opening with a +7 win over Jordan, he was then beaten in a close game by Stahl.
This leaves Jaksland almost certain to win the title on Sunday. Things can get complicated though. If Hougaard beats Jaksland and Stahl beats Jordan then all three will be tied and it will come down to points won.
Men’s B Singles: British Teenagers Produce Shocks in Malta
Unseeded British teenagers Ross Wilson and Matthew Davidson both produced impressive results to advance to the semi-finals of the Men’s B Singles.
Davidson beat No.2 seed Michael Skytte Pedersen and will now face Michal Kurek in the semi-finals. In the top half of the draw, Ross Wilson edged Jean Michot by three points to advance to the semi-finals. Wilson will now face top seed Roland Pichler in the semi-final before the final on Sunday.
Women’s B Singles: Dubendorfer Beats Krogsoe in Final
Esther Dubendorfer picked up her second title of the weekend after beating Stine Krogsoe in the final.
Top seed Dubendorfer began by strolling past Tine Bargholz before taking out Carola Von Heimburg in a hard-fought semi-final.
In the bottom half of the draw, No.2 seed Stine Krogsoe had to also work hard to win her matches. The Dane fought past Dara Ladner before taking out Katrin Maldre in the semi-finals.
The final ended up being a topsy-turvy contest. Dubendorfer took control of the table tennis with a 21-4 win before Krogsoe replied with a 21-5 badminton win. The squash contest was decisive in the match, with Dubendorfer winning 21-4 once again to leave her requiring just four in tennis.
For Dubendorfer, that is a 10th title of the season across singles and doubles. However, the win was not enough to put her at the top of the Victor Racketlon Women’s Challenger Super Series standings, with Katarzyna Myslek taking home the crown.
Men’s C Singles: Seeds into Semi-Finals
In the Men’s C singles, the four seeds all advanced to Sunday’s semi-finals. After a bye through the opening round, all four seeds required just one win to reach the semi-finals.
Top seed Jonathan Rucquoy beat Balint Puskas by +5 courtesy of a remarkable 21-5 tennis set to battle back. He will play No.4 seed Graham Cain in the semi-finals after he toppled Lee Gregson in the quarter-finals.
In the bottom-half, No.2 seed David Ersil strolled past Christophe Bohme, a dominant +23 win before squash cementing his spot in the semi-finals. He will face Sweden’s Alexander Jaatmaa after he defeated Antoine Martinez in the quarter-finals.
They will play both the semi-finals and final on Sunday.
Men’s D Singles
In the Men’s D singles, the final line-up has been set. Jesper Lofgren won both his matches to emerge from Group A, beating Anders Friis Bruun and Melchior Vassallo en route.
In Group B, India’s Kedar Nadgonde defeated two Brits, John Davidson and Bob Tink, to also advance through to the final.
Nadgonde and Lofgren will face off for the title on Sunday.
Men’s C Doubles: David’s Win Title
Kedar Nadgonde was not able to win his first final of the weekend. Teaming up with Christophe Bohme, they faced Gregor and Vincent David in the crucial box league match.
The David’s were too strong in the final though. The match was tight after badminton, but the squash was pivotal, with the David’s winning 21-8 to seal the victory and, with it, the title.
Juniors U21: Davidson in Prime Position for Title
Matthew Davidson produced two excellent victories on Saturday to set himself up for the title. Davidson beat David Ersil and Ross Wilson in two competitive matches to leave him one win from the title.
Davidson will face Will Gregson on Sunday, knowing that a win will land him the title. Ersil and Wilson will also play on Sunday, battling it out for second place.
Seniors +40: Hobzik Eyeing First Singles Title of 2019
World Seniors No.4 Richard Hobzik won all three of his matches on Saturday to place one hand on the Seniors +40 trophy.
Hobzik was in outstanding form, winning 10 of his 12 sets in his three matches. He dropped two tennis sets 21-19, losing to Ulrich Schlepphorst and Lee Gregson but won all his others comfortably.
The Czech player will now face Frank Kleiber on Sunday knowing that a win will earn him the title. However, Kleiber can secure the title himself if he is able to beat Hobzik. Kleiber is also in contention for the Victor Racketlon Series Seniors standings, with a win putting him in with a chance of coming first.
Seniors +60: King and Ryan in Title Showdown
After both beating Jiri Dvorak and Svatopluk Rejthar on Saturday, Graham King and Ray Ryan will meet on Sunday with the Seniors +60 title on the line.
Whoever wins, this is a landmark weekend for both men. Graham King has not won a Seniors title since 2016, while Ryan is yet to win one at all. Whoever wins will have plenty to celebrate. A victory for King will also see him lift the Victor Racketlon Series Seniors standings.
The full results from the IWT Malta Open are available here.
Friday’s IWT Malta Open report is available here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Amke Fischer