Day one of the IWT Vienna New Year Classic belonged to hosts Austria as they dominated the six doubles categories.
Christine Seehofer is rolling towards a first Triple Crown of the season after winning the Women’s Doubles with sister Elisabeth and the Mixed Doubles alongside Lukas Windischberger. Meanwhile, Austrian pair Bernhard Pilsz and Emanuel Schopf combined to win the Men’s A Doubles. There was further Austrian success as Alexander Gressl and Philipp Patzelt won the Men’s B Doubles while Roland Pichler teamed up with Denmark’s Stine Krogsoe to win the Mixed B Doubles.
Men’s A Doubles: Pilsz and Schopf Live up to Seeding
Bernhard Pilsz and Emanuel Schopf entered the tournament as the top seeds but knew they faced a big challenger just to get through round one. Swiss pair Benjamin Graenicher and Christian Schaefer stood in their way. However, impressive performances across the first two sports proved to be the launchpad to propel the top seeds into the semi-finals.
The top seeds had an easier time in the semi-finals. They brushed aside French duo Bertrand Carlier and Anthony Duthuille to win before tennis. That set up a final against Oliver Buhler and Manfred Grab. The Swiss-German pair had already impressively taken out David Ersil and Michal Kurek, as well as Rav Rykowski and Dariusz Adam Walczak.
In the final, Buhler and Grab pushed Pilsz and Schopf hard. They won the table tennis 21-19 but fell behind by three after losing badminton 21-16. The No.1 seeds began to pull away after a 21-15 squash victory before reaching the 13 they needed in tennis to seal the title.
For Pilsz, that is a first elite-level title of his international career, in singles or doubles. While it is not the first of Schopf’s career, it is his first since winning the singles at the 2018 CHA Murau Open.
Women’s A Doubles: Seehofer Success
This three pair box-league was decided by an all-Austrian crunch match. Christine and Elisabeth Seehofer against Bettina Bugl and Martina Meissl. After both pairs defeated Stine Krogsoe and Linda Schedl, they met for the title.
The Seehofer’s made the better start, winning the table tennis 21-10. Bugl and Meissl reduced the lead by two after a 21-19 badminton win. However, the Seehofer’s pushed ahead again, winning 21-12 to leave them needing just four for the win. That was achieved in a simple fashion to leave Christine and Elisabeth Seehofer as the Women’s A Doubles champions.
Mixed A Doubles: Seehofer and Windischberger Win Again
If Christine Seehofer and Lukas Windischberger team up, the safe assumption is that they are going to win. That is exactly what happened at Tennis Point Vienna on Friday.
The two Austrian superstars impressed in the three-pair box league. Not only did they win both of their matches, but they did so without dropping a single set.
Martina Meissl and Benjamin Graenicher did push them close though. The pair only trailed by four after the first two sets, losing the table tennis 21-19 and badminton 22-20. Seehofer and Windischberger turned the screw on the squash court though, winning 21-12 to set up a simple 9-3 tennis win.
In the end, Meissl and Graenicher finished third in the group, losing to Bettina Bugl and Emanuel Schopf by just three points in a tight encounter.
That victory gives Christine Seehofer a chance of securing the first Triple Crown of her season, ahead of the singles this weekend.
Men’s B Doubles: Unexpected Austrians Triumph
With three all-Austrian pairs in the seeds in this draw, you might have expected one of them to win the title. They did not. Instead, it was the unseeded Austrian duo of Alexander Gressl and Philipp Patzelt who emerged victorious in Vienna.
After a simple first-round win, the pair were made to work very hard. In the quarter-finals, they defeated No.2 seeds Bernd Jaschke and Dieter Muhl by just six points. The semi-finals were also fairly tight, a +12 win over Filip Kos and Matija Mikac seeing them reach the final.
Once there, Gressel and Patzelt found themselves against No.3 seeded German duo Frank Bohm and Torsten Kuntz. As they had been doing all weekend, Gressl and Patzelt won the table tennis 21-10. Bohm and Kuntz battled back though, winning the badminton 21-19 and squash 21-14 to force a full set of tennis. In the end, though, Gressl and Patzelt dominated the tennis set from start to finish, winning 21-10 to take home the title.
Mixed B Doubles: Delight for Tournament Director Roland Pichler
It was a special day for Roland Pichler. As well as making his tournament director debut, Pichler also won the Mixed B Doubles title alongside Denmark’s Stine Krogsoe.
After a walkover through the first round, Krogsoe and Pichler took out Linda Schedl and Philip Patzelt in the semi-finals, with the squash being the crucial set. The top seeds would face another all-Austrian pair in the final; Maria Aumann and Michael Moitzi.
Krogsoe and Pichler never let Aumann and Moitzi get control of the match. The top seeds snuck the table tennis 21-19 before produced a superb 21-7 badminton win. A 21-19 squash win was the icing on the cake and left them needing just four in tennis. They trailed 9-4 in the tennis but it did not matter. For the first time in their long doubles career, Stine Krogsoe and Roland Pichler have won a doubles title together!
Seniors +45 Doubles: Bohm and Kuntz Get Their Hands on Gold
After losing the final of the Men’s B Doubles earlier in the day, Frank Bohm and Torsten Kuntz had a chance at redemption in the Seniors +45 Doubles. The top seeds met the 2nd seeds in the final, Radu Ionescu and Ersoy Korer.
Bohm and Kuntz took control early with a 21-14 win before Ionescu and Korer battled back. The No.2 seeds won badminton 21-16 before following that with a 21-15 squash win. The top seeds were trailing again. They wouldn’t lose two finals in a day, would they?
No, they would not. The Germans produced a simply sensational tennis set, winning 21-5 to seal a +12 victory and get their hands on the trophy.
The full results from day one of the IWT 10. Vienna New Year Classics are available here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Racketlon Federation Austria