Jaksland & Ahlmer Headline Strong Field | IWT Swiss Open

The IWT Swiss Open makes its long-awaited return to the FIR World Tour this weekend with a host of racketlon’s biggest names heading to Switzerland.

World No.1 Morten Jaksland headlines the men’s singles field while the women’s singles features two-time defending champion Astrid Reimer-Kern and world No.3 Anna-Klara Ahlmer.

Alongside Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles we also have our first glimpse of an elite Women’s Doubles competition this season. Let’s break down all of the elite classes for our first preview of the IWT Swiss Open.

Men’s Singles – Race for the Top 10 Dominates Swiss Narrative

While world No.1 Morten Jaksland is the star attraction in the Men’s Singles draw, there is plenty of intriguing narrative in the rest of the field. Emanuel Schoepf is the No.2 seed in the draw and the only other member of the top-10 competing.

The Race for the Top 10 dominates the next few players on the list as Sylvain Ternon, Oliver Buhler and Christian Schaefer all look to replace the departing Lukas Windischberger. Who in the draw could potentially cause a stir in Switzerland?

At the top of the bracket, No.1 seed Morten Jaksland opens his 2021 season against the returning German Max Plettenberg. The duo served up a ferocious squash set at the IWT Berlin Open a few years ago so expect something similar this weekend.

Morten Jaksland and Max Plettenberg meet on the FIR World Tour once again.

The winner of that match will take on either Adarash Vikram Narayanaswamy or Simon Vaclahovsky, with the duo meeting for the first time.

Sylvain Ternon is the other seed in the top half of the draw as he opens against left-hander Nicolas Lenggenhager. Strap in for a ferocious badminton set between those two. There’s a second French-Swiss battle in the top half as Damien Andre takes on wildcard Noah Mamie. The winners from those two matches will meet in the quarter-finals.

The bottom half kicks off with No.4 seed and tennis star Oliver Buhler taking on Stefan Neumann in the opening round. The two have met before with Buhler winning thanks to a crushing tennis set. Will Neumann get revenge in Zurich?

Friends in Austria, enemies in Switzerland, Martin Abrami and Mohammed Tarik Koubaa also face-off in the opening round. They were teammates at the 2020 GRAWE sidebyside Austrian Open but now will do battle to face the winner of Buhler against Neumann.

There’s a fascinating showdown in the bottom’s half’s third match as wildcards Yannic Andrey and Molnar Gergely collide. Andrey is the current U18 world champion while Gergely is returning to the FIR World Tour after a long time away. Could the Hungarian shock the world champion on his return?

How deep could Emanuel Schoepf go in Switzerland? (Image: rubinfoto.com)

Finally, there’s a clash between two established names as No.2 seed Emanuel Schoepf takes on Christian Schaefer. The two have faced each other once before, with Schoepf running to a comfortable victory before tennis. Will we see the same result again or does Schaefer have some tricks up his sleeve?

The full Men’s Singles draw can be seen here.

Women’s Singles – Can Reimer-Kern Defend Her Title Again?

Given there are just eight players in the Women’s Singles draw, it’s stacked with talent with five of the world’s top-15 heading to VITIS Sportcenter. Anna-Klara Ahlmer is the top seed in the draw while Kirsten Kaptein props the bracket up as No.2

Ahlmer’s campaign opens against one of the rising talents Irina Olsacher. The Austrian is in the process of graduating from the Women’s B to Women’s A and her badminton will certainly give Ahlmer difficulty. This is the first time that the two have ever met on the singles court.

The second match in the top half is a fascinating showdown between two of the Tour’s most intriguing names. Stine Jacobsen has been destructive on the scene over the last few years, almost toppling Christine Seehofer and winning last year’s CHA Luxembourg Open. Myriam Enmer has been named “One to Watch” and stormed into the final of last year’s GRAWE sidebyside Austrian Open on her international debut. This is a real marker of where both players are at as they look to become top 10 players this year.

Astrid Reimer-Kern is the two-time defending champion in Zurich – can she triumph again? (Image: Rene Zwald)

Two-time defending champion Astrid Reimer-Kern begins her title challenge against Dutch wildcard Fabienne Dony. Having reached the final of each of the last three editions of this tournament, all eyes are on Reimer-Kern to see if she can make it an unprecedented fourth final.

The last match is the eighth clash between two of the Tour most experienced players. World No.5 Kirsten Kaptein takes on home favourite and former IWT Swiss Open champion Nicole Eisler. Despite Kaptein’s rankings advantage, it’s Eisler who has a 7-0 head-to-head advantage since 2014. Everything points towards Eisler winning this match and advancing to the semi-final once again.

The full women’s singles draw is available here.

Men’s Doubles – Jaksland and Koubaa Top Seed in Switzerland

A selection of intriguing partnerships means that we’ve got an eye-catching men’s doubles competition on our hands. World No.1 Morten Jaksland has chosen to partner Mohammed Tarik Koubaa, with the top seeds opening against Swiss pair Nicolas Champod and Nicolas Lenggenhager.

The winners of that match will face either Martin Abrami and Magnus Ekstrand or Adarsh Vikram Narayanaswamy and Max Plettenberg. A win for Jaksland’s pair and Plettenberg’s pair could see the duo meet in both the singles and doubles in Switzerland.

German duo Patrick Oettl and Simon Vaclahovsky are the No.2 seeds and they open against fellow German Manfred Grab and Oliver Buhler.

The final first-round match pitches French giants Damien Andre and Sylvain Ternon against youngsters Yannic Andrey and Emanuel Schoepf.

Remarkably, only four players in this entire draw have won a men’s doubles title before at the elite level. Jaksland has 15, Schoepf has 3, while Koubaa and Andre have 1 each. That makes Jaksland and Koubaa the clear favourites – can they be stopped?

The full men’s doubles draw is available here.

Women’s Doubles – Ahlmer and Jacobsen Lead the Field

All eight women in the singles draw are also in doubles action as they team up for a four-pair shoot-out. Once again, Anna-Klara Ahlmer is the top seed as she partners Stine Jacobsen. They begin their title challenge against Nicole Eisler and Myriam Enmer, who are competing together for the first time.

The Dutch pair of Kirsten Kaptein and Fabienne Dony are the No.2 seeds and they begin against Astrid Reimer-Kern and Irina Olsacher. For Reimer-Kern and Dony, this will be a good chance to suss each others game out before their singles clash.

In terms of previous success, the draw is certainly top-heavy. Both Ahlmer and Eisler have won 6 women’s doubles titles before, although neither of their partners has won any. In the bottom half, Kaptein has 2 and Reimer-Kern has 1. A win for either Ahlmer or Eisler will move them into the top-10 on the all-time list, alongside Zuzana Severinova on 7 titles.

The full women’s doubles draw is available here.

Mixed Doubles – Vogel Returns After Four Year Absence

Six pairs are in mixed doubles action with one former world champion making a welcome return. Nathalie Vogel is back competing at an IWT for the first time in over four years. She partners Joshua Zeoli in the draw. They begin by taking on Nicole Eisler and Adarsh Vikram Narayanaswamy in a hugely anticipated contest.

The winners of that match will face Danish duo Stine Jacobsen and Morten Jaksland. The No.2 seeds have a bye through to the semi-finals, as do No.1 seeds Irina Olsacher and Emanuel Schoepf.

Olsacher and Schoepf’s opponents will be the winner of the other first-round contest. French pair Myriam Enmer and Martin Abrami are teaming up and find themselves against Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Max Plettenberg in a fascinating showdown.

Nathalie Vogel’s last IWT-tour-level event came at the 2017 IWT Club La Santa Open (Image: Inge Omey)

Despite her four-year absence, Vogel is the star of the draw. Her 15 mixed doubles titles leave her third on the all-time list, behind just Jesper Ratzer and Christine Seehofer. Jaksland’s 6 titles make him the next in terms of historic success, while his partner Jacobsen has won 1 in the past. With 5 and 3 titles respectively, Ahlmer and Eisler are the other two players with mixed doublestrophies.

The full mixed doubles draw is available here.

Follow all the action from the IWT Swiss Open this weekend on Facebook, Instagram and Racketlon.net.

A full preview from the IWT Swiss Open non-elite categories is available here.

The full 2021 FIR World Tour is available here. All tournaments have categories for players of all ages and abilities to enter.

Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer

Image Credit / Rene Zwald

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