The top two seeds Dan Busby and Emanuel Schoepf are through to the final of the RACKETLON.SHOP Men’s A Singles in Graz.
Busby took out British compatriots Matthew Davidson and Duncan Stahl before tennis with a couple of ruthless displays. In the bottom half of the draw, Schoepf took out Romanian Open Challenger winner Florian Harca, before later beating Nikola Mikac in the semi-finals.
The two will now meet on Sunday in a gripping final that you can watch live with commentary on streamster.tv.
Busby Makes Light Work of the Top Half of the Draw
Despite being the top seed, there were question marks over what type of form the World No.3 was in as he made his return to the FIR World Tour. In his first match, he took on rising British talent Matthew Davidson. The youngster had pushed Busby close in a UK event as recently as last month and got to this stage after beating Afghanistan’s Ahmad Jafari in straight sets before tennis.
Busby took command of the match early with a solid 21-11 table tennis victory as he set out to ensure the match wasn’t as tight as last month. Alongside the Griffiths brothers, Davidson is the next brightest talent to come out of the UK, and he demonstrated that quality by snatching the table tennis 21-17.
Determined not to play tennis, Busby came flying out on the squash court, quickly racing to an 8-0 lead. Davidson simply couldn’t fight back and Busby ended up running out a 21-5 squash winner, sealing the victory before tennis.
In the semi-final, Busby took on another Brit, Duncan Stahl. The World No.10 had made it this far after taking out Nicolas Lenggenhager in a close match. Despite Lenggenhager’s destructive 21-7 badminton win, Stahl fought back to win by six points. He would not be so lucky in the semi-final.
Busby was clinical from start to finish. Stahl led the head-to-head 3-2 between these two going into the match but Busby is playing some quality racketlon. The top seed cruised to a 21-11 table tennis win once again before edging the badminton 21-15. Stahl simply couldn’t keep up with him on the squash court and Busby won 21-5 to reach his first Super World Tour singles final.
Badminton Carries Schoepf into Home Final
Emanuel Schoepf has tasted plenty of success on home soil, but this is different. His previous singles title game in the Murau Open Challenger back in 2018. This is a Super World Tour final – his first in the singles category. To get there, he had to produce some of his best racketlon.
Florian Harca game through a brutal match with Yannic Andrey which left the Swiss player lying on the ground after the badminton, squash and tennis. Schoepf took full advantage of Harca’s extra game, forcing long rallies in all four sports to test Harca’s cardio.
Schoepf edged the table tennis 21-17 before crushing Harca’s chances with a 21-5 badminton win. While Harca did take the squash, it was only 22-20, leaving Schoepf chasing four on the tennis court, something he managed with ease.
Nikola Mikac was Schoepf’s semi-final opponent. The Croatian had endured a strange day. He was due to face Michael Moitzi who, after stepping in last minute as an alternate, had shocked Marcel Weigl in one of the matches of the day. Unfortunately, Moitzi injured his shoulder in that contest, forcing a withdrawal and gifting Mikac a spot in the semi-final.
He began fast. A natural table tennis player, Mikac made the most of his advantage, winning 21-10 to take the early lead. Schoepf didn’t want to stay behind for long though. The World No.7 strolled through the badminton 21-6 before producing some elite squash to win 21-16.
He still needed 13 in tennis but as the dominant tennis player that was no bother. Schoepf rolled to a 13-6 tennis win to book a showdown with Busby.
Busby vs. Schoepf Preview
The two have an interesting history have been scheduled to play twice but never actually managing to complete a match. First at the 2018 Czech Open Busby withdrew after the badminton, trailing heavily but struggling with exhaustion. Later in the year they were due to meet in Nussloch but Schoepf withdrew before the match began. Is it third time lucky?
Neither player has ever reached a Super World Tour singles final before so this is an enormous opportunity for both. Regardless of the result, both will enjoy a bump in the rankings, with Busby looking to move ahead of Arnaud Genin and Schoepf chasing a spot in the top-5.
Despite both being ranked inside the top-10, neither has won a title since 2018 and both fo those were challengers. One player will walk away with the biggest title of their career, while the other can still take confidence in the fact they reached one of the biggest finals of the year.
Who will win the RACKETLON.SHOP Men’s A Singles title in Graz? You’ll have to watch the match live at 12:00CET on Sunday, September 26.
The full results from the RACKETLON.SHOP Men’s A Singles draw are available here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer