Junior, Senior and Amateur Preview | IWT Swiss Open

For the first time since 2019, we have over 100 players able to play at a racketlon tournament and we are absolutely delighted.

Finally, the FIR World Tour is seeing a full slate of categories, with juniors, seniors and amateur players all able to get back playing the sport that we all love.

With that in mind, we’re going to give a brief preview of each of the categories as the FIR World Tour heads to the outskirts of Zurich for the 2021 IWT Swiss Open.

Men’s B Singles – Familiar Faces Snatch Seeded Spots

With a 12 player draw in the Men’s B, the four seeded players all get a bye through to the quarter-finals. That’s welcome news to Anthony Duthuille, Patrick Oettl, Bertrand Carlier and Frank Kleiber as they get their 2021 international seasons underway.

There is a healthy local feeling about the Men’s B draw, with five of the other eight players all from Switzerland. There’s an all-Swiss affair between Nicolas Champod and Claude Nascher, with the winner advancing to face Kleiber.

Could Bertrand Carlier triumph in Switzerland? (Image: Inge Omey)

Elsewhere, Andre Bandi takes on Christian Borner, Patrick Burgi faces Frank Bohm and Raphael Paglia meets Nihit Kumar Singh. There’s certainly intrigue around Singh, with the Indian currently entered in every FIR World Tour event between now and the end of 2021. Remember the name, because you’ll certainly see him around this year.

The full Men’s B Singles draw is available here.

Women’s B Singles – Duebendorfer and Ladner Chasing Home Glory

Tournament Director Esther Duebendorfer’s ranking of No.23 sees her land as the top seed in a six-player Women’s B Singles event. The group-stage format sees Duebendorfer joined by fellow Swiss player Susan Rutschmann and Sona Konigsmarkova from the Czech Republic.

The second group is headlined by No.2 seed Dara Ladner. The young Swiss star is joined by the returning Heike Voigt and Gaelle Wavre. While Voigt has years of experience playing racketlon, Wavre is making her international debut as she looks to disrupt the regulars.

Esther Duebendorfer has a history of winning titles at the IWT Swiss Open

The two group winners will meet in the final. Will seeds Duebendorfer and Ladner battle it out for the crown or will there be some shocks?

The full Women’s B Singles draw is available here.

Men’s C Singles – Ersil Top Seed in Swiss-Heavy Draw

Czech youngster David Ersil leads the Men’s C Singles draw as the world No.92 begins his year. Ersil is one of just three non-Swiss players in the draw, as the home players dominate the 16-player field. Germany’s Bastian Bohm and France’s Anthony Levasseur are the other non-Swiss players.

David Ersil is one of the best racketlon juniors in the world (Image: rubinfoto.com)

Joining Ersil among the four seeded players are Graham King, Julien Meister and Valentin Henin. The three are all ranked inside the top-200 in the world and will be hoping to make a deep run in their first tournament of the season.

A Men’s C event rarely goes to rankings on the FIR World Tour. With 13 Swiss players in the draw, will it be a home victory or could Ersil, Bohm or Levasseur spoil the party?

The full Men’s C Singles draw is available here.

Men’s D Singles – Swiss Dominate Seeds

With Sven Strassle, Benjamin Kern, Andreas Stooss and Reto Ramusch all seeded, Switzerland is guaranteed at least four quarter-finalists as all four receive a bye through the first round. The other four first-round matches are all clashes between Swiss players and overseas travellers.

It’s not often that we get players from Portugal competing on the FIR World Tour, so it’s a pleasure to see Jorge D’Alpuim in the draw and taking on Felix Hoehne in the first round.

The full Men’s D Singles draw is available here.

First Timer Singles – Good Luck to All Involved

One of racketlon’s biggest assets is that all of our FIR World Tour events have a range of categories, from elite players right down to complete first-timers.

With that in mind, good luck to Joel Hunziker, Joachim Haab, David Castro Alvarez, Kevin Castro Alvarez and Timothee Alaux as they take part in the First Timer Singles category. Welcome to racketlon and the start of your journey within the sport.

The full First Timer Singles draw is available here.

Junior U13 Singles – German Juniors Dominate the Draw

Welcome Germany to the party! After Switzerland have provided the bulk of the players for a lot of the amateur categories, it’s a delight to see six German juniors competing in the U13 Singles competition.

Daria Strassle is the one non-German junior competing. She is joined in Group B by Leonie Neupert, Lena Schaedler and Henri Zahn. Meanwhile, Group A is a battle between Ylvie Zahn, Nils Neupert and No.1 seed Toni Bohm.

The full Junior U13 Singles draw is available here.

Junior U16 Singles – Dvorak Leads Five-Player Box League

Lukas Dvorak is the standout name in the Junior U16 Singles as the Czech junior chases two titles in Switzerland. The young Czech star is joined by local boy Nils Morgenthaler with the pair occupying the No.1 and No.2 seeds. Gauthier Bouteille and Peter Waddicor from Germany join the pair, while Lucas Mateo Moreno completes the league.

With Dvorak and Morgenthaler joined by three junior newcomers, it’s anyone guesses as to who will win. Dvorak’s history makes him the favourite, but beware the unknown newcomer at your peril.

The full Junior U16 Singles draw is available here.

Junior U21 Singles – Ersil Top Seed as Dvorak Chases the Double

At No.3 in the Junior Singles rankings, that No.1 spot must be a target for David Ersil in 2021. His first step towards that feat would be to win in Switzerland and he starts as the top seed.

Ersil is joined in Group A by Leon Mamie and Bastian Bohm. Ranked at No. 15 and No.16 in the junior rankings, both are quality players, although Ersil’s 5-0 head-to-head lead over Bohm makes him favourite to progress to the final.

Group B sees the return of Dvorak, with the Czech teenager the highest-ranked player in this league. That doesn’t necessarily make him the favourite, especially with the addition of current U18 World Champion Yannic Andrey. The pair are joined by unknown Frenchman Luca Hamon. Although having seen the talent coming out of France in recent years, it seems obvious to be very open to the idea that Hamon could produce a big upset in this stacked group.

The full Junior U21 Singles draw is available here.

Men’s Senior +40 Singles – Koubaa Begins Senior Career

An ever-present in the Men’s A category over the last few years, Morocco’s Mohammed Tarik Koubaa begins life on the senior circuit. One of the lead contenders for the +40 World Championship title this year, Koubaa gets his first test in a field dominated by Swiss players.

Can Koubaa make a flying start to his Seniors career? (Image: Alex Rieck)

Koubaa opens against Arnot Buscaglia while No.2 seed, Christian Borner, faces Magnus Ekstrand. Switzerland’s Raphael Paglia and Nico Hobi are also in the draw, with Paglia opening against Thomas Neupert and Hobi sharting an all-Swiss showdown with Julien Meister.

The full Men’s Senior +40 Singles draw is available here.

Women Senior Singles – Duebendorfer, Maldre and Rutschmann Battle for Crown

It’s a three-way showdown in the Women Senior Singles as Esther Duebendorfer, Katrin Maldre and Susan Rutschmann battle for glory. Duebendorfer is the heavy favourite, boasting a 6-0 head-to-head lead over Rutschmann and a 4-0 one over Maldre. Her last meeting with Maldre was close in Lanzarote two years ago though.

Will Duebendorfer live up to expectations or could we have a Swiss shock on our hands?

The full Women Senior Singles draw is available here.

Men’s Senior +50 Singles – Grab and Kleiber Lead German Challenge

Let’s face it, any eight-player seniors draw that features Manfred Grab, Frank Kleiber, Thomas Knaack and Graham King is going to be high-quality. It’s an impressive lineup, with Knaack and King actually colliding in the opening round.

Grab is the No.1 seed and the German takes on Marc-Andre Rauber in his opener. At the other side of the draw, Frank Kleiber takes on Giovanni Gentile. The final first-rounder sees local Beat Ladner take on Wolfgang Taschi.

King, Rauber, Ladner and Gentile would love to win a title on home soil. Will they be able to battle past the fierce German trio of Grab, Knaack and Kleiber to do it though?

The full Men’s Senior +50 Singles draw is available here.

Men’s B Doubles – Youth and Experience in Big Doubles Draw

There is an air of familiarity about the Men’s B Doubles. French pair Bertrand Carlier and Anthony Duthuille lead the field while Patrick Burgi and Steffan Neumann land as the second seeds. The No.3 seeds are experienced seniors Frank Kleiber and Thomas Knaack while teenage Czech pair Lukas Dvorak and David Ersil complete the seeds.

All four seeds receive a bye through to the quarter-finals, leaving the other eight pairs to battle it out. Bastian and Frank Bohm make for an eye-catching pair, as do Noah Mamie and Julien Meister – especially with Mamie receiving a wildcard to compete in the Men’s A Singles draw.

The full Men’s B Doubles draw is available here.

Women’s B Doubles – Duebendorfer and Maldre the Pair to Beat?

It’s not uncommon knowledge that Esther Duebendorfer and Katrin Maldre are heavy favourites in the Women’s B Doubles. The two hold a plethora of titles between them and have a huge rankings advantage over any other team. Their campaign begins against the Swiss-Ukranian duo of Sonia Bornand and Ulyana Melnychuk.

The second semi-final in this four-pair draw is No.2 seeds Sona Konigsmarkova and Susan Rutschmann taking on Switzerland’s Florence Barman and Adriana Radulescu. The battle in this category may be for a place on the podium.

The full Women’s B Doubles draw is available here.

Mixed B Doubles – Mixed Medley Could Go Any Way

The last category we’ll cover in this preview is perhaps one of the most intriguing. Esther Duebendorfer and Anthony Duthuille are the top seeds but are by no way the clear favourites in a fascinating field.

The pair open against Sona Konigsmarkova and David Ersil in a match which has the potential to be very tricky straight away. The winner of that will advance to face either Katrin Maldre and Thomas Larsen, or Dara Ladner and Beat Ladner. Four names with plenty of racketlon experience as they all hunt down silverware.

Kirsten Kaptein and Graham King are teaming up once again (Image: Czech Racketlon Association)

There is just as much intrigue in the bottom half of the draw. Kirsten Kaptein partners with Graham King to be the No.2 seeds but their opener against Heike Voigt and Thomas Knaack has plenty of intrigues. Despite currently being unranked, the German duo is a wily, experienced pair, and could cause problems for the No.2 seeds.

The final first-round match feature Nicolas Lenggenhager. The Men’s A regular partners newcomer Gaelle Wavre to take on Susan Rutschmann and Steffen Neumann. This draw, perhaps more than any other, seems likely to throw up some shocks. Do not be surprised if the winning pair was not who you predicted.

The full Mixed B Doubles draw is available here.

The IWT Swiss Open elite preview is here.

The full 2021 FIR World Tour is available here, with all tournaments open for entry for players of all ages and abilities.

Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer

Image Credit / Rene Zwald

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