Serving as the final warm-up tournament ahead of the World Singles Championship, the IWT Dunlop Rotterdam Open saw over 50 players battle it out for 13 trophies. Eight of those trophies were fought in the Amateur and Senior categories.
Here is your report from every single category at the IWT Dunlop Rotterdam Open
Men’s B Singles – Oettl Lives Up to Expectation as No.1 Seed
There’s certainly an element of pressure on a player when they are the No.1 seed in a tournament. That was the challenge facing Patrick Oettl as he took to court ahead of his first match against France’s Eric Durand. The German rolled to victory in that contest after being 23 points up after tennis.
In the semi-finals, he ended the last Dutch hopes as he took out No.3 seed Guus Van de Burgt. The German dominated the contest, winning 21-12, 21-13, 21-10 to head into the final before tennis. Facing him there was Finland’s Taavi Suorsa.
In the bottom half of the draw, Suorsa had produced a handful of impressive displays. Fabio Fischer was his first-round victim before a clinical 21-4 tennis set saw him take out No.4 seed Torsten Kuntz. The semi-final against Michael Skytte Pedersen proved to be his toughest test so far.
The No.2 seed had already battled to a well-earned +6 win over Thibault Perin. Now, Pedersen needed to beat Suorsa to set up a final between the top two seeds. It was Suorsa who triumphed though, battling back after trailing before tennis to win by six points.
Patrick Oettl was too much for Suorsa in the final though. He had only dropped one set so far in the tournament and wouldn’t drop another before tennis. Ruthless 21-15, 21-11 and 21-18 victories left him needing just four in tennis, something he managed with Suorsa on 4. A superb weekend for Oettl, who picked up his first singles title since the 2018 IWT Latvian Open.
Van De Burgt did guarantee there was one Dutchman on the podium. He narrowly beat Pedersen by five points to leave the Dane agonisingly without a medal after three incredibly close matches.
The full Men’s B Singles results are available here.
Men’s C Singles – Debut Delight for Denmark’s Kuch
While there was no Dane on the Men’s B Singles story, there was one at the top of the Men’s C Singles. Kristian Kuch was making his debut on the FIR World Tour and wasted no time in showing his talent. The Dane battled through four matches, including beating the No.1 and No.3 seeds, as he rolled to the title.
Mark De Bruin was Kuch’s first victim before he destroyed top seed Stefan Burvall in the quarter-finals. His biggest challenge of the tournament came in the form of Dutchman Stan Soels. The No.3 seed had produced a superb comeback win over Igor Neusy in the quarter-finals and almost managed it again against Kuch one round later.
Kuch needed six in the tennis but only managed it with Soels on 15. Almost a sensational run to the final for Soels. It was another Dutchman that made it to the final in the end – Erik Bakhuijs. He had cruised through to this stage with relative ease, taking out Srikanth Virudula, Andreas Maumung and Piyush Purang.
He even made the faster start in the final, taking the table tennis 21-13. Momentum swung in Kuch’s favour from then on. He rushed to a 21-6 badminton win before extending his lead with a 21-16 squash victory. Needing just 10 points, Kuch sealed it in style to collect the first singles title of his international career. He was flanked on the podium by a pair of Dutchmen as Soels joined Bakhuijs.
The full Men’s C Singles results are available here.
Seniors +40 Singles – Van De Burgt Wins Thrilling Final Against Durand
There was no busier player across the weekend in Rotterdam than Guus Van De Burgt. The Dutchman played a remarkable 11 matches across three days, saving his best performance for the very end.
Seeded No.2 in the eight-players Seniors +40 Singles draw, Van De Burgt made relatively light work of his first two matches. Piyush Purang was his first victim before Thibault Perin fell in the semi-finals.
It would not be an all-seeded final though. Top seed Frank Kleiber narrowly survived an opening match against Igor Neusy before Eric Durand bested him to reach a second career Seniors +40 Singles final. What came next, was the closest final of the weekend.
Van De Burgt dealt the early blow with a 21-9 table tennis victory. Durand responded in the middle two sports. The Frenchman took the badminton 21-17 before impressing in the squash to win 21-11. Not only had he chipped away at Van De Burgt’s advantage but he had actually taken the lead himself by two points.
What followed was a tense tennis set as the two could taste the title. After a long tussle, it was Van De Burgt who came out on top. The Dutchman won 21-18 to triumph by a single point, in his 11th and final match of the weekend. That is some incredible stamina. Kleiber was the third man on the podium after beating Thibault Perin in the Bronze Medal Match.
The full Seniors +40 Singles results are available here.
Seniors +45 Singles – Kuntz Dominates Box League as Sach Withdraws
With Volker Sach forced to withdraw from this competition after two matches, three players were competing for the title. Germany’s Torsten Kuntz was the highest seed remaining and was joined by Erik Roelofsen and Stefan Burvall.
While Roelofsen and Burvall had a high-quality match against each other for the silver medal, neither were any match for Kuntz. The German was exquisite throughout, getting his hands on the trophy without dropping a set or playing tennis. In the silver medal match, Roelofsen took a +15 win over Burvall to finish just behind Kuntz.
The full Seniors +45 Singles results are available here.
Seniors +50 Singles – Schlepphorst Holds Off Trio of Dutchmen
Much like the Seniors +45 Singles, the Seniors +50 Singles was a four-player box league. Sitting in the league were a trio of Dutchmen – Steve Rayson, Berthold Van Veen and Marc Veldkamp – and Germany’s Schlepphorst. Would we have an all-Dutch podium? Not if Schlepphorst had his say.
The German won all three of his matches to secure the title, beating both Rayson and Veldkamp by +34. His closes match by far came against the unknown Van Veen. The two players were dead level heading into tennis. Schlepphorst eventually prevailed though, a 21-11 victory, guaranteeing he left Rotterdam with a first seniors singles trophy in four years.
Perhaps unsurprisingly after pushing Schlepphorst close, Van Veen took the silver after beating both Rayson and Veldkamp. That left Rayson and Veldkamp to fight for the bronze medal. In the end, it was Rayson – the current +70 World Champion – to overcome Veldkamp by eight points a grab himself a medal.
The full Seniors +50 Singles results are available here.
Men’s B Doubles – Hageraats and Soels Cruise to Title
There may have been some that were a little surprised when Koen Hageraats won the Men’s A Singles title at the IWT Dunlop Rotterdam Open. Well, the warning signs were there on Doubles Day. Hageraats and Soels were simply brilliant and nobody could get close to them.
The Dutch pair began by eliminating Stefan Burvall and Anthony Duthuillé before tennis. Tennis was needed in their next match against Kristian Kuch and Michael Skytte Pedersen. However, they only needed one point – something they managed very swiftly.
In the final, Hageraats and Soels did need a tiny bit more tennis. Facing them was top seeds Frank Kleiber and Ulrich Schlepphorst. Despite their rankings advantage, the Germans were no match for Hageraats and Soels.
The Dutch pair won all four sets, although the Germans were competitive in them all. 21-16 was the table tennis result before a pair of 21-14 wins left Hageraats and Soels needing just three in tennis. That took them just three points to complete and it left the home favourites with a title at their local tournament.
There was some Dutch success as well, with Kuch and Pedersen defeating Srikanth Birudula and Berthold Van Veen in the Bronze Medal match to complete the podium
The full Men’s B Doubles results are available here.
Mixed B Doubles – Smits and Roelofsen Headline All-Dutch Podium
While we may not have seen an all-Dutch podium in the Seniors +50 Singles, we did see one here. Laura Smits and Erik Roelofsen were the victorious pair, as they fought off two fellow all-Dutch lineups and a German duo.
Funnily enough, it was their first victory over Nienke Veldkamp and Guus Van De Burgt that ended up being the toughest. Smits and Roelofsen recovered after trailing before tennis. They won that set 21-8 to secure a tough +8 win overall.
Their matches got easier from there. They rolled to a +18 win over Shelly Bontje and Robert Ewing. Their perfect Friday was completed when they demolished Julia Schirutschke and Andrea Baumung. Three matches, three victories, nine sets one and won title well-earned.
The full Mixed B Doubles results are available here.
Seniors +40 Doubles – Kleiber and Schlepphorst Win Gold After Earlier Disappointment
It was a busy Friday of finals for Frank Kleiber and Ulrich Schlepphorst. The Germans had already suffered the disappointment of losing the Men’s B Doubles final. They did want another silver medal.
In this final, they were taking on surprise finalists Taavi Suorsa and Mark Van Der Heide. The duo had completed a stunning comeback with a 21-12 tennis win to eliminate No.2 seeds Steve Rayson and Erik Roelofsen.
Kleiber and Schlepphorst absolutely dominated the final though. The iconic German pair took the first two sets 21-5 to open up an enormous 32 point lead before squash. Despite Suorsa and Van Der Heide winning the squash, their three-point victory was not enough to force a tennis set. Belgian duo Igor Neusy and Thibault Perin took the bronze medal after also defeating Rayson and Roelofsen.
The full results from the Seniors +40 Doubles are available here.
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Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer