Jacobsen and Griffiths Win First SWT Titles | SWT Dubai Racketlon Classic

It was a landmark week in Dubai for Stine Jacobsen and Leon Griffiths as both won the first Super World Tour elite singles titles of their career.

Jacobsen defeated Anna-Klara Ahlmer in the final to extend her winning streak to 20 matches and mark herself as the woman to beat on the FIR World Tour right now.

Meanwhile, Griffiths held off a ferocious fightback from Morten Jaksland to win his second title of the 2021 season.

There was success for Jaksland elsewhere as he won the Men’s Doubles title alongside Kresten Hougaard and the Mixed Doubles crown with Christine Seehofer.

Men’s Singles – Griffiths Holds On to End Jaksland Fightback

The last two times that Leon Griffiths and Morten Jaksland had faced off, the young Brit had won before tennis, including as recently as last month’s World Singles Championship. It would not be the same case in Dubai.

Griffiths had made it to the final after beating both Jesper Hougaard and Koen Hageraats. The young Brit beat Hougaard before tennis but had a tougher time against Hageraats, who beat him to 10 in table tennis and also got 18 in the squash. Eventually, Griffiths won 16-6 on the tennis court to advance to the final.

Jaksland’s path to the final certainly had some similarities. His first match against Mohammed Tarik Koubaa was a routine affair, with the Dane triumphing before tennis. His second match, against close friend and doubles partner Kresten Hougaard, was a tougher affair. Hougaard took the first two sports to 17 before Jaksland rallied back to win 21-14 and 21-11.

That set up yet another blockbuster final between Leon Griffiths and Morten Jaksland. After the first two sports it looked like Griffiths was cruising to another victory before tennis. There’s a reason Jaksland is the No.1 in the world though, and the Dane came alive in the second half. Jaksland produced some mesmerising squash to win 21-12 and at 11-1 in the tennis it looked like he was in cruise control.

Griffiths battled hard in the second half of the tennis set. To win, the Brit needed eight points and he began to target Jaksland’s backhand. Finally the errors started coming from a previously inpenetrable Jaksland and Griffiths reached 8 points to win the title by just five points.

That is Griffiths’ first Super World Tour elite singles victory and will see him land back in the top-10 of the World Rankings. Jaksland will be disappointed to have lost but pleased that he was able to push Griffiths so close. I expect we’ll see plenty more of these two in finals over the next few years.

Koen Hageraats grabbed a bronze medal after beating Kresten Hougaard by nine points.

The full Men’s Singles results are available here.

Women’s Singles – Jacobsen Beats Ahlmer Twice to Extend Winning Run

Stine Jacobsen’s unbeaten run came close to ending in Dubai but she held on to win her first Super World Tour elite singles title.

The Dane almost lost to Anna-Klara Ahlmer in the group stage before going on to play her again in the final. A new format that saw the top two from each group qualify for the quarter-finals.

Jacobsen topped Group A after beating both Ahlmer and Irina Olsacher. The young Austrian gave Jacobsen a bit of a fright though. Olsacher actually won the first two sports to lead before squash. Ahlmer also beat Olsacher to guarantee that she also qualified for the semi-finals.

In Group B, it was Amke Fischer and Zuzana Severinová who qualified for the latter stages. Fischer defeated both Severinová and Julia Schirutschke to top the group while Severinová also won against Schirutschke to book her spot in the semi-finals. The results from Group B meant that Fischer would face Ahlmer while Jacobsen and Severinová collided for a place in the SWT Dubai Racketlon Classic final.

Both matches required plenty of tennis to confirm the winner. Anna-Klara Ahlmer had never beaten Amke Fischer in six previous attempts but it was her day in Dubai. The Swede lost the table tennis 21-17 but then hugely impressed in the next two, winning 21-18 and 21-15 to lead by five before tennis. Ahlmer’s tennis is her best sport and she proved that with a crushing 17-9 victory to book her spot in the final.

The second semi-final looked like it was going to be a rout. Jacobsen was leading Severinová by 21 points after badminton but the Czech closed that gap up with a 21-8 squash victory. Jacobsen is rock solid on the tennis court and won 14-8 to extend her unbeaten run to over 20 matches.

Their group stage match was a close affair but in the final it was Jacobsen who dominated. The Dane lost the table tennis 22-20 but rolled to 21-11 and 21-14 victories in the middle two sports. That left her needing just seven on the tennis court. Jacobsen managed to get her hands on a first Super World Tour title of the year and fourth singles title in total. Jacobsen has won all 15 singles matches in 2021 and is now on a 20 match winning streak dating back to the 2019 World Championship.

The full Women’s Singles results are available here.

Men’s Doubles – Jaksland and Hougaard’s Perfect World Championship Preparation

They had to battle for it but Morten Jaksland and Kresten Hougaard leave Dubai as the Men’s Doubles champions. The pair faced Koen Hageraats and Nicolas Lenggenhager in a blockbuster final that saw the first three incredible level sports. Hageraats and Lenggenhager snuck both table tennis and badminton, winning 21-18 and 21-17.

The Danes retaliated with a  21-17 squash win. That still left them trailing by three points heading to the tennis court. Their tennis level was simply too strong in the end. They dominated from the start to win 21-8 and get their hands on another title together.

That title is No.17 for Jaksland who is now level with Lukas Windischberger at equal 5th on the all-time list. Hougaard’s number rises to 12, as he joins Calum Reid at equal 7th. The pair will now turn their attention to Prague as they look to defend their World Championship title.

The Men’s Doubles results are available here.

Mixed Doubles – Seehofer and Jaksland Battle to Title

It’s been great to see Christine Seehofer return to action at the SWT Dubai Racketlon Classic, albeit just in doubles. However, the Austrian is not used to losing and the Women’s Doubles result was a little bit of a shock. She would not lose again.

In the Mixed Doubles final, Seehofer was partnering Morten Jaksland against Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Nicolas Lenggenhager. The match ended up being fascinatingly close.

The top seeds snuck the table tennis 21-17 but found themselves down by six after badminton. This was because Ahlmer and Lenggenhager produced a fantastic 21-11 badminton result. Their lead was cut to just one point before tennis though, with Seehofer and Jaksland triumphing 21-16 on the squash court.

The tennis set was neck-and-neck throughout, with both teams needing 21 points to win. Seehofer and Jaksland eventually grabbed the title thanks to a 21-17 victory. A fantastic, hard-fought victory for the duo who will now turn their attention to the World Doubles Championship later this month.

The Mixed Doubles results are available here.

A report from Thursday’s action is available here.

A full report on the amateur and senior classes will be available soon.

Information about the Dubai Fitness Challenge is available here.

Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer

Image Credit / Kedar Nadgonde

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