Friday saw a dramatic day of racketlon at the SWT GRAWE sidebyside 15. Austrian Open. Gummiarm drama, a potential Triple Crown and the return of the greatest Men’s Doubles player of all time – Michi Dickert – all featured on a triumphant return to Graz.
Zuzana Severinova is the player eyeing up a Triple Crown after she won both the Women’s Doubles (with Anna-Klara Ahlmer) and Mixed Doubles (with Lukas Windischberger) in fantastic fashion.
There was also a return for all-time Men’s Doubles title leader Michi Dickert as he extended his lead with a superb display in Graz.
CASH4CAR Mixed A Doubles – Drama from Start to Finish
You will be hard-pressed to find a more dramatic and competitive tournament than the CASH4CAR Mixed A Doubles at this year’s SWT GRAWE sidebyside 15. Austrian Open. The four matches in the competition finished +10, +5, +3 and +1 on a gummiarm.
Both semi-finals saw drama in different areas of the match. Top seeds Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Dan Busby were first on court against Myriam Enmer and Nicolas Lenggenhager. The pair seemed on track for a spot in the final as they lead by 12 heading into the tennis. Some explosive play from Enmer and Lenggenhager saw them surge to an unexpected 8-0 lead, leaving the watching crowd in disbelief. However, an ace from Busby sparked the comeback, with Ahlmer and Busby eventually winning by 10 points.
There was even more drama in the second semi-final. Strong favourites Zuzana Severinova and Lukas Windischberger found themselves down early, trailing by 11 after badminton. While they eradicated that lead in squash, a full set of tennis was still needed for the win. It was neck-and-neck throughout before Severinova and Windischberger pulled away at the end to win 21-17 and seal the victory by five points.
The final was as neck-and-neck as you would expect. Severinova and Windischberger trailed by two points heading into badminton and looked set to overturn that after a big badminton lead mid-way through the second half. But Ahlmer and Busby rallied, getting to 18 to trail by one before squash. After a competitive first half, Windischberger opened up a gap over Busby to win 21-16 and take a +6 lead to tennis.
Severinova and Windischberger raced to an 8-3 lead and seemed set on the title. A storming period in the middle of the set saw Ahlmer and Busby fight back to win 21-15 and force a remarkable gummiarm.
Severinova and Windischberger won the toss and, surprisingly in a gummiarm, elected to serve. Ahlmer returned Windischberger’s serve with interest but the Austrian’s down-the-line forehand beat Busby and handed an unforgettable mixed doubles title to the pair.
The bronze medal match was just as intriguing, as Enmer and Lenggenhager won a fiercely competitive match by just three points thanks to a 21-15 tennis victory.
The full Mixed A Doubles results are available here.
Victoria Awards Women’s A Doubles – Ahlmer and Severinova Stroll to Title
Earlier in the day, Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Zuzana Severinova were not on the opposite side of the net. Instead, they were teammates. The pair were expected to win the Victoria Awards Women’s A Doubles and they didn’t disappoint.
Their opening match ultimately ended up being their final as they faced Myriam Enmer and Irina Olsacher. While the French-Austrian pair kept it close in the first two sports, the squash is where they collapsed. Ahlmer and Severinova boasted a nine-point lead before squash, before producing a ruthless display to win 21-5 and ultimately take the match before tennis.
Their other match was against Clarissa Steiner and Paulina Steiner. The two Steiner’s had earlier been comfortably beaten by Enmer and Olsacher. The Austrian youngsters suffered the same fate at the hands of the top seeds.
Those two doubles wins for Severinova set her up now for a Triple Crown attempt as she goes in Saturday’s singles competition. Ahlmer extends her doubles title run to six in a row and will move to No.1 in the world next month.
The full results from the Victoria Awards Women’s Doubles are available here.
Babolat Men’s A Doubles – Dickert and Windishberger Back With a Bang
They may not have been seeded at the SWT GRAWE sidebyside 15. Austrian Open but there is no doubt that Michi Dickert and Lukas Windischberger were the favourites in Graz. The two are a formidable pair with 50 doubles titles between them – and 10 together as a pair.
Things were not going their own way in their opening match though. Top seeds Dan Busby and Duncan Stahl played a brilliant match through the first three sports. They narrowly lost the table tennis 21-18 before winning a set-of-the-day badminton 27-25. At one point, they battled from six points down at one point in the second half. Even in the squash, they managed to get 16.
The tennis set with tight early on, before eventually the Austrian powerhouses pulled away, securing a 16-7 win to advance to the final. There, they faced young duo, Yannic Andrey and Emanuel Schoepf. They beat Florian Harca and Marcel Weigl in the semi-finals, thanks to a ruthless 21-8 badminton display.
The final proved a step too far for the youngsters. In the end, Dickert and Windischberger won all three sports. A 21-7 squash set sealed the win before tennis and a 51st and 52nd doubles title respectively between them. With Dickert now on 35 men’s elite doubles titles, the question has to be, will he ever be caught?
The full results from the Babolat Men’s A Doubles are available here.
A full report on the amateur doubles categories will come on Monday with the amateur, juniors and seniors report.
Watch the singles action live across the weekend on Streamster.tv.
Check out our five must-watch matches from Saturday at the tournament. Could we see another gummiarm or two?
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer