A remarkable 17 World Champions were crowned on Friday at the World Singles Championship as the Juniors and Seniors categories came to a close.
Peter Sákovics, Jo Shelley, Carola Von Heimburg and Esther Dübendorfer all defended titles they had won two years ago, while the likes of Luke Griffiths and Yannic Andrey won new titles to add to their previous collection.
We’re going to bring you a quick report on all the finals and champions from each and every category.
Men’s +40 – Junillon Masterminds Perfect Comeback
When Cédric Junillon beat Magnus Eliasson on Thursday in one of the tournament’s early thrillers, we knew he was the favourite for the title. That didn’t mean he wasn’t in for a tough match in the final though against No.2 seed Mohammed Tarik Koubaa.
In the end, it was his dominance in table tennis and squash that proved crucial. Junillon won those to six and nine and left Koubaa with far too much to do on the tennis court. Junillon won among huge scenes from his club, RC Leman. Junillon celebrated with his team as he won his first World Championship title. Could he become a dominant force on the Seniors circuit?
The full results from the Men’s +40 are available here.
Boys U21 – Andrey Gets His Revenge Over Harca
One month ago, Florian Harca and Yannic Andrey met in the first round of the SWT GRAWE sidebyside 15. Austrian Open. Harca won on that day with Andrey struggling physically. In the Boys U21 final, it was a very different story.
Andrey was simply brilliant from start to finish. The Swiss produced a 20 point swing in table tennis compared to when they met last month, winning 21-10 with some breathtaking play. From there, the Swiss star didn’t look back. His domination continued as he took the badminton 21-12 and the table tennis 21-17 to wrap up the match before tennis.
Andrey is now a two-time World Champion, having lifted the U18 trophy two years ago in Leipzig. With Harca having already won a Men’s A Singles trophy in 2021, is 2022 the year that Andrey does the same? Matthew Davidson grabbed himself a bronze medal with a solid +11 victory over Léon Mamié.
The full Boys U21 results are available here.
Girls U21 – Rohrer Roars to Victory
We already mentioned on Thursday that Linda Rohrer would become the Girls U21. However, that became official on Friday morning after the final match of the tournament. Rohrer’s badminton was too good for Cherisse Lau and Clarissa Steiner, and the Swiss player rolled to her first-ever world title.
In the battle for silver, it was Lau that emerged victoriously. The Brit, who also won the Women’s C, held a +12 lead after the badminton and never faltered from there. Despite Steiner winning the squash by five, Lau held on to eventually winning by six points.
The full Girls U21 results are available here.
Men’s +45 – Bandi Tops the All-Swiss Podium
By the end of Thursday, it was already known that the podium of the Men’s +45 would be an all-Swiss affair. The only question was what order Andre Bandi, Raphael Paglia and Magnus Ekstrand would finish in.
Magnus Ekstrand made the first move. He defeated Raphael Paglia on Thursday night to seal the first win of the three-player box league. His win was just +6 points, in the end, thanks largely to Paglia’s storming 21-7 table tennis set victory.
Friday belonged to Andre Bandi though. The Swiss star took on Paglia first and eliminated him from contention for gold with a +22 win overall. That left Bandi and Ekstrand in a straight shoot-out for gold.
Bandi dealt the early blow with a crushing 21-2 table tennis victory. That lead was slowly eliminated by Ekstrand, who won the badminton 21-16 and squash 21-8. However, Bandi was eventually too strong on the tennis court. He moved ahead early and stayed there, defeating Ekstrand 21-12 to get his hands on a first World Singles Championship gold.
The full Men’s +45 results are available here.
Women’s +45 – Dübendorfer Completes Hat-Trick to Draw Level with Capper
Since 2018, the Women’s +45 category has belonged to Esther Dübendorfer. If the results from Switzerland are anything to go by, this is not going to change anytime soon.
Dübendorfer dominated both of her matches, taking out fellow countrywoman Susan Rutschmann by 41 points and Germany’s Nicole Kamphues by 18. That win means that Dübendorfer has now won this category in three consecutive World Championships, joining an elite list of players to have won three in a row.
Despite Kamphues having much better scores against Dübendorfer, it was actually Rutschmann who grabbed the silver medal, winning by eight points thanks to a 21-6 tennis set.
The full Women’s +45 results are available here.
Boys U18 – Griffiths Wins Title Showdown with Harca and Davidson
There was no stronger group at this year’s World Singles Championship than the U18 Championship Box League. The No.1, No.2 and No.3 in the boys’ rankings were all in action as the three clashed for the title.
An all-British showdown between Luke Griffiths and Matthew Davidson was first on the court. Griffiths got stronger and stronger as the match went on, edging the table tennis 21-17 before taking the badminton 21-14 and securing a win with a 21-8 squash set.
Austria’s Florian Harca was next up for Luke Griffiths. The young Brit needed a win to guarantee himself a fourth juniors singles world title. In the end, his victory was ruthless and clinical. After a tight 21-16 table tennis victory he roared ahead on the badminton court, winning 21-3. By this point, victory for Harca was out of sight. That was confirmed when Griffiths won the squash 21-8 to win before tennis.
For Griffiths, it’s another World Championship trophy to add to his enormous collection. Including his two European titles, that’s now six junior world titles. He’s still only 18 and also reached the semi-finals of the Men’s Elite. He’s already a star of the sport.
There was some redemption for Harca. He recorded a third win over Davidson in a month, winning by nine points after winning both the table tennis and the tennis.
The full Boys U18 results are available here.
Seniors +50 – Danish Delight as Steinmetz Wins Impressive Title
Denmark enjoyed a fantastic World Singles Championship. As well as Jesper Ratzer and Stine Jacobsen winning the elite singles titles, Jakob Steinmetz was also victorious in the Seniors +50.
The Dane had to win two matches on Friday, first battling his way past Volker Sach. The Dane lost the table tennis but crushed Sach in badminton and won the squash relatively comfortably to guarantee an easy tennis victory.
In the final, he found himself against French-Australian squash player Eric Durand. As expected, Durand did indeed win the squash. However, it was Steinmetz that led by five heading into tennis, his strongest sport. The Dane rolled to a 17-9 victory with an impressive array of shotmaking.
He now returns to Denmark as a Seniors World Champion, becoming the second Dane to win the Men’s +50 after Jack Broe Larsen won it two years ago. Sweden’s Henrik Huldschiner finished third after he beat Sach in the bronze medal match.
The full Men’s +50 results are available here.
Women’s +50 – Shelley Defies All Expectations to Win Incredible Triple Crown
There are few stories better from this year’s World Singles Championship than Jo Shelley. The Brit didn’t originally enter the tournament after a year struggling with a back injury. However, less than a week before the tournament a withdrawal opened up a spot for her.
Then, she went and qualified from her group, beating Esther Dübendorfer for just the second time in her career. In the final, she was taking on Heike Voigt, a player she had never beaten before, despite having played a number of times. In the end, though, Shelley played brilliantly solid tennis to hold off Voigt and win the title.
Like Dübendorfer in the +45 Singles, this was the third time in a row that Shelley has won this particular World Championship category. She now overtakes Lilian Druve and is the most successful woman of all time in this category. Dübendorfer took the bronze medal with a comfortable victory over Czech star Zuzana Vancuríková.
The full Women’s +50 results are available here.
Boys U16 – Eye-Catching Kiljunen Blows Apart Field on Debut
Only two of the 14 players in the Boys U16 draw were playing their first international racketlon player. Jesse Kiljunen was one of them, and he blew apart the field.
The Finn had strolled through drawing, particularly impressing when he eliminated top seed Lukáš Dvořák in the semi-finals. In Friday’s final, Kiljunen was facing another seed, No.2 Leon Sam.
Despite Sam’s racketlon experience, it was Kiljunen who dominated every set. The Finnish talent was just a bit better than Sam across the board, winning 21-12, 21-12, 21-15 to wrap the match up before the tennis set.
It was a hugely impressive weekend from Kiljunen who has been playing fairly regularly in Finland. We look forward to seeing him return to the international circuit in 2022 and will be keeping an eye on his progress after a dominant showing in Switzerland. Dvořák took the bronze medal, defeating Great Britain’s Oliver Barton.
The full Boys U16 results are available here.
Men’s +55 – Knaack Battles Past Shemri to Finally Win Singles Crown
Few players have come as close to winning a World Singles Championship title in the last few years without actually winning one as Thomas Knaack. The German lost in the final of the Seniors +50 at the 2016 and 2019 tournaments, as well as the 2017 European Championship.
To see him emerge victorious in Zurich was a delight and the result of years of persistence. The German had to play both his semi-final and final on Friday but won both in dominant fashion.
Knaack is one of the best badminton players on the Senior Tour, proving that against both Niklas Hägerbrand and Avi Shemri. The badminton sets were crucial in both matches as he won them 21-2 and 21-4 respectively. In fact, he came through his semi-final without needing his tennis racket, defeating Hägerbrand before tennis.
The final was a much tougher affair against Avi Shemri. The Israeli had beaten Martyn Langston in the semi-final and was looking to win Israel’s first-ever World Championship gold medal.
Shemri actually edged both the table tennis and the squash in the final, winning 21-19 and 21-17 respectively. Knaack’s 21-4 badminton domination gave the Israeli too much to do though. Knaack needed just 11 points in tennis and got it with Shemri on 10.
Hägerbrand took home the bronze medal for Sweden after beating Langston before tennis.
The full Men’s +55 results are available here.
Women’s +55 – Von Heimburg Defends Title with Near-Perfect Display
We had already seen Esther Dübendorfer and Jo Shelley defend Women’s Seniors trophies in Zurich. Carola Von Heimburg was desperate not to be left out.
After beating Susan Rutschmann and Zuzana Vancuríková on Thursday, fellow countrywoman Nicole Kamphues was the only player left standing in her way. The match was level after badminton, with Kamphues winning the table tennis to three and then Von Heimburg repaying the favour.
The match was won on the squash court, as Von Heimburg won 21-3 once again. She comfortably won four points on the tennis court to cement her place in the record books. Von Heimburg is now a two-time Seniors +55 World Champion and will look to go for a third title next year in Austria.
The full Women’s +55 results are available here.
Men’s +60 – Sákovics Remain’s Racketlon’s Seniors GOAT
The Men’s +60 final saw a showdown between two heavyweights of the senior game. Top seed Peter Sákovics was taking on No.2 seed Martyn Langston, with both players having won world titles in the past.
The two players split the opening sets, with Langston winning the table tennis to 15 before Sákovics returned the favour in badminton. Langston actually took the lead after squash, winning by three points before tennis.
However, the fatigue of having to play three matches on Friday morning got to Langston late in the tennis set. The two were neck-and-neck through the first half before Sákovics showed why he is considered by most to be racketlon’s greatest senior player of all time.
The Hungarian roared to a 21-15 win to pick up a seventh world singles title. That’s now more than any other player in history and cements his status as a true legend of the sport. Alan Plater won the bronze medal after defeating Duncan Marlow in the bronze medal match.
The full Men’s +60 results are available here.
Boys U13 – Rosenberger Wins Five Matches to Triumph on World Championships Debut
Austria’s Jakob Rosenberger had the toughest draw of the three seeded players in the Boys U13 draw, having to battle past three players just to qualify for the Championship Group.
In the three-player group, Rosenberger was joined by Germany’s Henri Zahn and Finland’s Leo Karppanen. The first match saw Rosenberger defeat Zahn, with a 21-4 squash victory proving to be the killer set. Rosenberger was straight back on the court on Friday to face Karppanen. This was a closer match, with the two almost level heading to tennis. In the end, the Austrian was too strong on the tennis court, winning 21-11 to confirm his status as the new U13 World Champion.
Karppanen took out Zahn before tennis to take the silver medal home to Finland, with the German finishing third.
The full Boys U13 results are available here.
Seniors +65 – Shocked Clapp Stuns Seeds to Win World Title
One of the most surprising runs at the World Singles Championship came from Julian Clapp as he emerged from a stacked quarter to win the Seniors +65 title. Clapp was in a quarter with Graham King, Graham Cain and Steen Hesselbjerg, but beat King and Cain on his way to the final.
Sweden’s Stefan Blomgren was his opponent in the gold medal match. The last time they faced each other, Blomgren dominated the match to win before tennis. This time it was a totally different affair. Clapp lost the table tennis again but led by five points going into the tennis after impressive badminton and squash victories.
The tennis was a long, hard-fought affair with neither player able to gain a lead from the other. In the end, it was 17-17 which left Clapp a winner by five points. The Brit was shocked and delighted in equal measure at his world title. Graham King beat Markku Merta in the bronze medal match.
The full Men’s +65 results are available here.
Girls U11 & U13 – Sensational Zahn Crowned Double World Champion
10-year-old Ylvie Zahn had an amazing time at her first world championships as the young German won both the Girls U11 and Girls U13 world titles in Zurich.
She actually won the two titles in back-to-back matches, not dropping a set in either. First, she took on friend and fellow German Lena Schaedler in the final of the U13. Schaedler had already won the Girls U16 title but Zahn beat her at all three sports. Zahn won 21-13, 21-9, 21-15 to win the match impressively before tennis.
Then, immediately after winning that title, she was back on court chasing the Girls U11 title. This time, Scarlett Ratzer was her opponent. The young Dane was ultimately no match for Zahn on the day, with the German running away to victory before tennis.
With this being the first-ever Girls U11 category, Zahn will always be in the history books as the first champion. She also joins a very small group of players to have won two singles world titles at the same World Championship. Congratulations to all the players that took part in these two categories.
The full Girls U11 results are available here.
The full Girls U13 results are available here.
Seniors +70 – Finn Wins Final Category
The last Seniors category to finish on Friday was the Seniors +70, the oldest category currently held at the World Singles Championship.
Finland’s Timo Räisänen had set himself up perfectly for the gold medal on Thursday after beating 2019 finalists Steve Rayson and Geoff Jordan.
The Finnish player continued that form on Friday. He first took on Great Britain’s Peter Arbuthnot, beating him by 21 points and only losing the squash set. The last player standing between Räisänen and the gold medal was Sweden’s Jan Stålberg. He had struggled so far in the tournament, losing all three of his matches and was no match for the eventual world champion.
Räisänen did lose badminton but his table tennis and squash scores were enough for him to win the title and be crowned world champion.
The Finn was joined on the podium by Arbuthnott and Rayson, who won silver and gold respectively.
The full Men’s +70 results are available here.
The full report from the Women’s and Men’s Elite Singles is available here.
The full Amateurs report will be coming on Wednesday.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer