After an exhilarating month that has seen the World Singles Championship in Switzerland and the SWT Dubai Racketlon Classic, the FIR World Tour rolls into Prague for the World Doubles Championship.
Once again, the world’s greatest racketlon players congregate in one place for another four days of gripping action.
Christine Seehofer is back looking to defend her Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles titles. She once again partners Bettina Bugl in the Women’s but is teaming up with new partner Morten Jaksland in the Mixed. Jaksland teams up once again with Kresten Hougaard as he looks to defend the Men’s Doubles crown.
Let’s have a dive into the fascinating draws to preview how the week of action could play out.
Mixed Doubles – Seehofer and Jaksland Headline Fascinating Draw
In the entire racketlon calendar, there is never a draw quite as good as the Mixed Doubles at the World Championship. A collection of the greatest male and female players teaming up to battle for glory. This year is no different.
There are 12 pairs competing in the elite draw, with the four top seeds all getting a bye through to the quarter-finals. Returning to try and defend the crown she won with Dan Busby two years ago, Christine Seehofer is this year playing alongside Morten Jaksland. The two have played together twice before and are yet to lose a match. However, despite winning in Dubai earlier this month, they did come close to suffering defeat.
They will open against either Czech pair Hana Rábová and Michal Horácek or France’s Myriam Enmer and Germany’s Max Plettenberg.
The second quarter in the top half of the draw is loaded. Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Henrik Mustonen are the No.3 seeds and receive a bye to the quarter-finals. Mustonen is yet to lose singles or mixed doubles match on the FIR World Tour and, as a PSA professional, will bring devastating squash to the table.
They will face either Amke Fischer and Leon Griffiths, or home favourite Zuzana Severinová and Georg Stoisser. All four players have won singles titles since the start of 2020, with Fischer and Severinová also claiming Mixed Doubles titles in 2021. This is undeniably the match of the first round.
That being said, the bottom half is loaded as well. Former two-time champion Natalie Paul returns alongside Christian Wiessner. The German duo begins against Bettina Bugl and Marcel Weigl from Austria. There is a chance of an all-Austrian quarter-final, with Martina Meißl and former champion Lukas Windischberger waiting for the winning pair.
Astrid Reimer-Kern and Kresten Hougaard are the final seeded pair. The duo has a rich history of titles together but are yet to grab the world title. If they are to do it in 2021, they’ll have to beat either Stine Jacobsen and Cornelius Radermacher, or Margaux Randjbar and Luka Penttinen. Jacobsen has been the star of 2021 – can she add a Mixed Doubles world title to her two singles ones?
The full Mixed Doubles draw is available here.
Men’s Doubles – Hougaard and Jaksland Face Battle to Defend Title
Kresten Hougaard and Morten Jaksland won the Men’s Doubles world title two years ago in some of the most joyous scenes we’ve witnessed on a racketlon tennis court. Now, two years later, they return-seeking further glory.
As with the Mixed Doubles, there are 12 pairs taking part. That means that the four seeds get a bye – including No.1 seeds Hougaard and Jaksland. At the top of the draw, they will either begin against Michal Horácek and Jakub Svec, or Oliver Bühler and Manfred Grab. Bühler gave Jaksland a bit of a scare in the IWT Swiss Open singles final earlier this year, but could find it tougher going in this doubles encounter.
Former European Champion Lukas Windischberger is part of the seeded pair in the second quarter. He is partnering fellow Austrian Georg Stoisser. They face the prospect of a mouthwatering showdown with Great British duo Leon Griffiths and Calum Reid. In order for the British heavyweights to progress though, they’ve first got to battle past Finnish duo Toni Kemppinen and Joel Pennanen. A shout out to Racketlon Finland at this stage – they’re taking a big contingent of players to Prague.
Cornelius Radermacher and Duncan Stahl are the No.4 seeds and they land in quarter-three. They’ll face the winner of a showdown between Florian Harca and Marcel Weigl against Nicolas Lenggenhager or Nihit Kumar Singh. After Adarsh Vikram Narayanaswamy’s history run in the World Singles Championship, could we see more Indian success in Prague?
German duo Max Plettenberg and Christian Wiessner are taking part in the final first round match. They will take on Finnish National Champions Henrik Mustonen and Pekka Kainulainen in one of the most fascinating matches of the draw. Wiessner is a former champion after winning in 2018 with Thorsten Deck but will have to beat a pair of Finns to return to the semi-final. That’s because Tommi Laine and Luka Penttinen are the No.2 seeds.
The full Men’s Doubles draw is available here.
Women’s Doubles – Austrians and Germans Combine for Epic Group A Action
With six pairs entered into the Women’s Doubles category, we’ve once again got two groups of three battling to reach the final. Defending champions Bettina Bugl and Christine Seehofer are back to try and win the crown once again and they headline Group A. Seehofer is a master of this division, having won every major women’s doubles title dating back to 2013.
However, Bugl and Seehofer have landed in a tough group. German powerhouse pair Amke Fischer and Natalie Paul have also landed in Group A. Paul is a two-time former champion alongside Seehofer. The third-and-final pair in the group is Martina Meißl and Astrid Reimer-Kern. With Meißl’s badminton and Reimer-Kern’s squash, they will be a ferocious pair in the middle two sports. Three Austrians and Three Germans will battle and only two players can reach the final. But who will it be?
Group B may have more diversity of nationalities but it’s just as interesting. SWT Dubai Racketlon Classic champions Stine Jacobsen and Zuzana Severinová land in this section as they look to keep their winning run going. World No.1 Anna-Klara Ahlmer lines up alongside American debutant Stephanie Chung to add an element of mystery to proceedings. French pair Myriam Enmer and Margaux Randjbar complete the group as they team up for the first time in search of a spot in the final.
The full Women’s Doubles draw is available here.
We’ll have a running live blog throughout Thursday and Friday to keep you up to date with ALL the action from the World Doubles Championship.
We’ll also be live streaming all three elite World Doubles Championship finals on Facebook.
A full report of the Juniors, Seniors & Amateur World Doubles Championship draws will be coming on Wednesday, with a full IWT Czech Open preview coming on Thursday.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Inge Omey