Christine Seehofer created history at the IWT Vienna New Year Classics as she stormed to a fifth-consecutive title.
Seehofer battled past three-fellow Austrians in the four-player box league to begin her season in perfect style. The World No.1 also extends her winning run to 95 consecutive singles matches, just five away from an incredible 100 straight wins.
In the Men’s Singles, Rav Rykowski won the title after beating Emanuel Schopf in the final. The World No.9 recovered from a shock first-round loss in November’s World Championships, winning the title without needing his tennis racket in Austria.
Women’s Singles: Unstoppable Seehofer
Can anyone stop Christine Seehofer? It’s the question we ask at the beginning of every tournament she enters. In Vienna, the answer remained ‘No’.
After wins over Elisabeth Seehofer and Bettina Bugl on Saturday, Martina Meissl was the only player that could stop the World No.1 from winning the title. Meissl made a good start, taking the table tennis 21-19. Ultimately though, that was the only set that Seehofer would lose all weekend.
The World No.1 fought back, winning the badminton and squash 21-11 and 21-9. That left her needing just two in tennis, a scoreline she achieved with no issues at all. A first singles title of the season. A first Triple Crown of the season. Business as usual for the woman who is rewriting the racketlon history books.
The battle for the other medals ended up flipping on its head though. Bugl lost both matches on day one and looked likely to finish in last place. However, a +35 hammering of Elisabeth Seehofer catapulted Bugl in silver on the podium. Martina Meissl, competing in her first IWT in over two years, ended up 3rd with Elisabeth Seehofer 4th.
Men’s Singles: Rykowski’s Earns Career Title No.3
Rav Rykowski’s first-round exit at the hands of Christian Wiessner was one of the biggest shocks of the World Championships. That meant there was plenty of intrigue over how he would bounce back. The answer? In some style!
In the final, Rykowski was taking on rising star Oliver Buhler. The Swiss player made big strides in 2019 but his breakthrough came here after reaching his first elite singles final. He got off to the perfect start as well, defeating Rykowski 21-15 at table tennis.
As was the theme all weekend, Rykowski turned the screw in the middle two sports. In his previous two matches, he had dropped just 23 points in the middle-two sports. That kind of destructive form shone through against Buhler too.
Rykowski dominated the badminton 21-4 before putting the match to bed with a 21-2 squash win. In 2019, Rykowski finished runner-up at this tournament, losing to Arnaud Genin. A year later and he’s the champion. The perfect start to the season for the Pole.
For Buhler, this was a week to remember. A first elite final is a perfect springboard to launch into the top-10 and establish himself as one of racketlon’s elite players.
Emanuel Schopf finished 3rd for Austria after Benjamin Graenicher was forced to retire.
There will be a full report on all other categories, including juniors and seniors, coming soon.
The full results from the IWT Vienna New Year Classics are available here.
The full 2020 FIR World Tour and Challengers are available here. Entry is open to anyone from all over the world.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / rubinfoto.com