The world’s best racketlon players are heading to the United Arab Emirates to take part in the first SWT Dubai Racketlon Classic.
2021 titlists Morten Jaksland, Emanuel Schöpf, Leon Griffiths and Koen Hageraats are all competing in the Men’s Singles. They are joined by Mohammed Tarik Koubaa, Nicolas Lenggenhager, Kresten Hougaard and Jesper Hougaard.
The Women’s Singles sees new World Champion Stine Jacobsen back in action. She takes part alongside Anna-Klara Ahlmer, Irina Olsacher, Zuzana Severinová, Julia Schirutschke and Amke Fischer.
World No.1 Christine Seehofer also makes her 2021 Tour debut, competing in both the Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.
The tournament takes place in Dubai from November 4-6.
Men’s Singles – Jaksland Leads High-Class Field
Given it is the first time racketlon has arrived in Dubai, there’s an elite field of men in action. World No.1 and World Championship bronze medallist Morten Jaksland is the first name in the draw, and he’ll begin his tournament against Dubai native Mohammed Tarik Koubaa. The two have met on the singles court once before, with Jaksland winning comfortably at the IWT Club La Santa Open back in 2018. They also teamed up earlier this year to win the Men’s Doubles crown at the IWT Swiss Open.
The second match in the top half is a showdown between Kresten Hougaard and Nicolas Lenggenhager. While Hougaard holds a 2-0 head-to-head advantage, their last meeting was an extremely tight affair, with the Dane winning by just three points. Given Lenggenhager has improved greatly since then – and is now knocking on the door of the top-10 – this could be an epic first-round clash.
The bottom half of the draw features three 2021 title winners and a player making his racketlon comeback. Leon Griffiths won the IWT London Open and finished runner-up at the World Singles Championship. The Brit opens his Dubai campaign against Jesper Hougaard. Denmark’s Hougaard is a former top-10 star and is competing on the FIR World Tour for the first time in over two years.
The final match sees a fascinating clash between IWT Dunlop Rotterdam Open champion Koen Hageraats and SWT GRAWE sidebyside 15. Austrian Open champion Emanuel Schöpf. The two both won a first major title this year and now look to grow their stock as two of racketlon’s brightest rising stars.
The full Men’s Singles draw is available here.
Women’s Singles – World Champion Jacobsen Returns to Action
Just 10 days after winning the World Singles Championship in Switzerland, Stine Jacobsen is back in action in Dubai. The Dane has been drawn in Group A, alongside Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Irina Olsacher. Ahlmer and Jacobsen collided in the first round two weeks ago at the World Championship and will meet once again. In this tournament, the top two players from each three-player group will qualify for the semi-finals.
Group B sees a pair of Germans join No.2 seed Zuzana Severinová. The Czech World No.3 is joined by the returning Amke Fischer and Julia Schirutschke. Fischer boasts the dominant head-to-head record, leading Severinová 6-1 – although their most recent meeting at the IWT German Open two years ago was just a slender five-point victory for the German. This is a big step up for Schirutschke, who is competing alongside these two top-10 stars for the first time.
Once these two groups have been completed then we’ll have a pair of semi-finals and a final. Who will be crowned the first SWT Dubai Racketlon Classic champion? You’ll have to follow across the weekend to find out.
The full Women’s Singles draw is available here.
Mixed Doubles – Good Preview for the World Doubles Championship
With the world’s best men and women all in one place, we’re set to have a blistering Mixed Doubles competition.
Six pairs are in the draw, with Christine Seehofer making her long-awaited return to the FIR World Tour. The Austrian is partnering Denmark’s Morten Jaksland in the competition, with the pair receiving a bye through to the semi-finals. Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Nicolas Lenggenhager are the other pair with a bye, as they sit in the bottom half of the draw.
That leaves two first-round matches. Battling to take on Seehofer and Jaksland, Stine Jacobsen partners Koen Hageraats against Amke Fischer and Leon Griffiths. The latter are competing at the World Doubles Championship together and will be looking for an impressive showing as they prepare for the tournament later in the month.
The second first round clash sees Zuzana Severinová and Mohammed Tarik Koubaa take on Irina Olsacher and Emanuel Schöpf. While this is the first time the former have played together, the Austrian pair are regular partners and have established themselves as a growing force on the Mixed Doubles circuit. The winner of that match will progress to take on Ahlmer and Lenggenhager.
The full Mixed Doubles draw is available here.
Women’s Doubles – Blockbuster Showdown Between Racketlon Superstars
The Women’s Doubles competition may only be one match but it is arguably the four biggest names currently in our sport competing for glory.
Current World Singles Champion Stine Jacobsen joins forces with Zuzana Severinová to take on World Singles No.1 Christine Seehofer and World Doubles No.1 Anna-Klara Ahlmer.
This is a fascinating showdown given how rarely these pairs have actually played together. Ahlmer and Seehofer have played one previous tournament together, winning the title on that occasion. Meanwhile, for Severinová and Jacobsen this is a first-time partnership and one which is certainly intriguing.
Ahlmer is the Queen of the women’s doubles circuit at the moment. The Swede has won 12 straight matches and six straight titles in a run dating back to mid-2019. That run has seen her capture the World No.1 spot – can she keep it going in Dubai and add another title to her growing collection?
The Women’s Doubles draw is available here.
Men’s Doubles – World Champions Jaksland and Hougaard Headline
While all the other draws are dominated by racketlon’s biggest stars, there is a little more mystery in the Men’s Doubles. Current World Champions Morten Jaksland and Kresten Hougaard are the top seeds as they search for a big warm-up ahead of the World Doubles Championship.
Joining them in the four-team box league is Nicolas Lenggenhager and Koen Hageraats. The Swiss-Dutch pair have both had hugely impressive years on the FIR World Tour and will be looking to cause an upset against the dynamic Danish duo.
Joining these two established pairs are four international racketlon debutants. First up are British pair Peter Sykes and Jonathan Anderson. The squash specialists are making their debut in the tournament as they chase a spot on the podium and an upset against the more experienced stars. The second pair of debutants are India’s Vishal Narayanan and Sujit Kumar. Like the Brits, they are looking to make a splash as they begin their international racketlon journey.
The Men’s Doubles draw is available here.
You’ll be able to watch a number of matches live from Dubai across the next few days. This will include the Men’s and Women’s Elite Singles finals. Follow our Facebook and Instagram for more information.
The non-elite report will be available later on Wednesday.
The SWT Dubai Racketlon Classic is in partnership with the Dubai Fitness Challenge.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer