There’s a pair of surprise finalists in the Men’s A at the IWT Swedish Open as Rene Lindberg will take on Mikael Rehn. Both players have a chance to lift a first Men’s A singles title after previously losing finals at the IWT Finnish Open.
Elsewhere the Women’s A will, as expected, end in a showdown between top seeds Christine Seehofer and Anna-Klara Ahlmer.
Jo Shelley, Helene Jernbeck, Sam Golam, Par Gunnar Mattsson, Lennart Eklundh were all crowned champions on Saturday of various categories. A full report of their victory will come in Monday’s Open, Juniors and Seniors tournament report.
Men’s A: Lindberg Reaches Second Men’s A Singles Final
An intriguing opening day of singles action from the Enskede Rackethall saw Rene Lindberg emerge as the finalist in the top half of the draw. Lindberg began in the quarter-finals with a match against wildcard Erik Stenfelt.
Stenfelt had produced an impressive win over Alexander Lipczynski in the opening round but couldn’t make it two wins in a row. Lindberg controlled that match from start-to-finish, winning by +19 after narrow wins in the first three sports.
The most eye-catching result came in the other quarter-final though. Sebastian Hedlund, who had beaten Dan Busby once before, produced another superb win over the World No.3. Winning the table tennis 21-8 and the badminton 21-19, Hedlund made a fast start to proceedings. Busby began to battle back in the squash, winning 21-13 but it wasn’t enough. Hedlund reached the 15 he needed to advance to the semi-finals.
Unfortunately, Hedlund was forced to withdraw from the semi-final after knocking out Busby which put Rene Lindberg into his second Men’s A singles final. Last time he lost to Henrik Mustonen in last year’s IWT Finnish Open final. Can he go one better this year in Stockholm?
Men’s A: Unseeded Rehn Makes Stunning Run to Final
In the bottom half of the draw, it was unseeded Mikael Rehn who battled through three matches to reach the final. Rehn began with a topsy-turvy win against Kevin Ho Ching Ng. That set up a tie with No.4 seed Gustaf Moller in the quarter-finals.
Despite Moller winning both the badminton and the squash, it was a 21-5 table tennis victory that set up Rehn heading into tennis. A 21-13 tennis victory would be enough for Rehn to eliminate the No.4 seed.
The other quarter-final pitched No.2 seed Ray Jordan against Swedish wildcard Joakim Hellgren. The wildcard had impressed as he beat +40 champion Par Gunnar Mattsson in the first round but came unstuck against Jordan. The Brit used his racketlon experience to stroll to victory, an 18-7 win enough to see him into the semi-finals.
As had been the case all tournament, the semi-final began with a crushing table tennis victory from Rehn, winning 21-7. Taking Jordan’s best sport out of the picture meant a comeback was always going to be tough and Rehn extended his advantage with a squash win. Needing just five in the tennis, Rehn reached his target without breaking a sweat. The IWT Swedish Open will see an all-Swedish final!
Lindberg holds the head-to-head advantage. They have only met once before, at last year’s World Singles Championships, but it was Lindberg who won it by a game of tennis. Will we get the same result in Sweden or will Rehn lift his first Men’s A singles title?
Women’s A: Seehofer and Ahlmer in Showdown for Crown
Another Swede is gunning for an elite title as Anna-Klara Ahlmer takes on Christine Seehofer on Sunday for the Women’s A title.
Both players got the better of both Emmie Danielsson and Kirsten Kaptein on Saturday to leave them both tied at the top of the standings. A showdown between the two on Sunday will decide the title while Danielsson and Kaptein will face-off for bronze.
With Seehofer closing in on 100 consecutive singles victory in women’s categories, she is undoubtedly the favourite for this title. However, when the duo met recently at the SWT Austrian Open presented by GRAWE sidebyside, Ahlmer was able to get to tennis, her strongest sport. Perhaps a home advantage can give the World No.3 an extra boost in the final.
The bronze-medal match is an intriguing one with neither Danielsson or Kaptein having ever played each other before.
The full results from the IWT Swedish Open can be seen here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Inge Omey