The next wave of racketlon talent is coming. That’s the takeaway from the IWT Vienna New Years Classic as Florian Harca won the Men’s B and David Ersil took the Men’s C.
There was also success for hosts Austria too with Irina Olsacher winning the Women’s B and Thomas Wagner taking the Seniors +45.
Men’s B: Harca Continues Rise
The signs have been there for a little while that Florian Harca is going to be a superb player. Last year he was the Men’s C title at the SWT Austrian Open presented by GRAWE sidebyside and he has an array of junior titles.
At this year’s Vienna Classics though, he won his biggest title to date. Harca did it the hard way though, needing his tennis racket in all four matches. He began by beating Torsten Kuntz before toppling Matija Mikac. Mikac had taken out No.3 seed Philipp Schneider and in the semi-finals, Harca took out No.2 seed Filip Kos.
In the final, Harca found himself against No.1 seed Roland Pichler. The top seeds role as Tournament Director clearly suited him. As well as winning the Mixed B Doubles title on Friday, he had been superb in the Men’s B. Through his first three matches, Pichler had not dropped a set, winning all of his matches before tennis. In the final, that ended immediately.
Harca snuck the table tennis 24-22 before extending his lead with a 21-15 badminton win. Pichler battled back with a 21-18 squash victory to ensure all of the sets remained tight. Needing just 17 points in the tennis, Harca dominated. The youngster won 17-11 to get his hands on a first Men’s B title of his career. This certainly won’t be the last.
Filip Kos took third after defeating Alexander Gressl in the bronze medal match.
Women’s B: Olsacher Impresses on Run to Title
After her performance at the World Championships, it is little surprise to see Irina Olsacher stroll to victory in Vienna. The Austrian didn’t just win, but she blew apart the field.
After a first-round victory over Luise Rothe, Olsacher’s semi-final match saw her face Zuzana Vancurikova. Winning three of the four sports, Olsacher glided into the final where she would face fellow Austrian Maria Aumann.
Aumann had a remarkable semi-final win. Trailing by 22 points before squash, Aumann won the last two sports 21-9 to eliminate top seed Stine Krogsoe by just two points. Aumann was unable to repeat her heroics in the final. This time she trailed by 26 before squash. Olsacher however, was able to actually win the squash 24-22, sealing the first title of her career.
In the battle of the two seeds, top seed Stine Krogsoe beat No.2 seed Zuzana Vancurikova to take bronze.
Men’s C: Ersil Destroys Field to Win Title
Filling in as an alternate, David Ersil cruised to the Men’s C title. Winning five of his matches before tennis, Ersil’s first real test came in the semi-finals.
The Czech youngster found himself facing Slovenian player Damir Skerl. Despite competing in his first tournament since 2014, Skerl took the early lead, winning the table tennis 21-4. Ersil rallied, winning the next two 21-9 and 21-10 before a 16-17 tennis result sealed the victory for him.
In the final, Ersil faced No.2 seed Konradin Suchlich. The German had propelled himself into the final thanks to some superb tennis results. Unfortunately, Suchlich was not able to repeat that in the final. Ersil was superb throughout, winning 21-14, 21-11 and 21-7 to wrap up the title before tennis.
Skerl took home bronze after a remarkable +53 victory before tennis over Switzerland’s Laurent Dan Rueff.
Juniors U16: Ersil Completes Perfect Weekend
If you thought his Men’s C title was comfortable, the U16 title was another level. Ersil barely broke a sweat in the U16 Juniors, reinforcing his standing as one of racketlon’s best junior players. Ersil came past Francesco Izzo and James Vincent to set up a final against Germany’s Bastian Bohm.
As with the Men’s C final, Ersil kept his tennis racket in his bag. This was a closer match though, Bohm putting up a good fight across table tennis, badminton and squash. In the end though, Ersil was able to win +22 before tennis.
Lukas Dvorak, the No.2 seed, took bronze after beating Great Britain’s James Vincent.
Seniors +40: Makovec Shows His Quality
Janez Makovec proved he still possesses the quality that saw him lift a Men’s Elite trophy a number of years ago. The Slovenian opened his tournament with a comfortable victory over Germany’s Manfred Grab before taking out Ersoy Korer in the semi-finals.
In the other half of the draw, No.4 Senior player Richard Hobzik comfortably advanced to the final after a walkover and pre-tennis victory against Hans-Peter Waltl.
Makovec made a roaring start to the final. The unseeded player won the table tennis 21-1 to open up a huge lead. Hobzik battled back with a 21-12 table tennis win but the result was finalised when Makovec took the squash 21-9. Makovec lifts his first title since 2017.
Seniors +45: Wagner Wins on Home Soil
The six-player Seniors +45 category divided the competitors into two groups, with the winners from each facing off in the final. In Group A, top seed Thomas Wagner came through with no issues. The Austrian did not drop a set en route to the final, beating Christian Wagner and Niki Markov.
There was a shock in Group B though. After both beating Christian Golob, Ersoy Korer and Horst Schwarzenberger collided for a spot in the final. As No.2 seed, Korer was the favourite. In the end though, a stunning 21-8 tennis win for Schwarzenberger saw him progress to the final by just five points.
The all-Austrian final was competitive through the first two sports. Wagner took the table tennis 21-15 but Schwarzenberger led before squash, winning the badminton 21-14. This is where the match turned. Wagner first took the squash 21-16, before an 8-1 tennis win sealed the title.
Ersor Korer snatched third after an awesome match against Christian Wagner. Korer needed just three in tennis, but eventually only on by two points, 3-20 the final score.
Seniors +50: Janzer Wins Maiden Title
No.2 seed Gyorgy Janzer battled through a competitive Seniors +50 category to claim his first international racketlon title. Janzer impressed en route to topping Group B, defeating Michael Tesar and Steve De Luca for the loss of just one set.
In Group A, it was also the seeded player who progressed. Radu Ionescu beat Arno Graf by eight and received a walkover win against Frank Bohm to advance to the final. Janzer was always in control in the final, Wins in table tennis and squash left him needing just 13 in tennis, a score he achieved with little fuss. A first gold medal for Janzer in international racketlon while Arno Graf took bronze.
The full results from the IWT Vienna New Year Classics are available here.
The elite report from the tournament is available here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / rubinfoto.com