Munro Comeback & New Faces | IWT Malta Open

Former world No.14 Calum Munro is making his international racketlon comeback at the IWT Malta Open.

The Australian reached world No.14 back in the 2000s and is playing in his first international racketlon tournament in over a decade, competing in the Men’s +60 Singles and Men’s B Doubles categories.

Elsewhere, there are a host of new faces joining our regular Seniors and Amateurs players, including new faces from Malta, Canada and Italy.

Here is our full preview of all the Amateurs and Seniors classes at the IWT Malta Open taking place this weekend.

Men’s B Singles – Börner and Szlazak Lead Mixed Field

As is often the case in the Men’s B Singles at international racketlon events, there is a delicious mixture of regular, returning and new faces making up the draw. That is happening once again in Malta as five regular faces are joined by two returning players and one newcomer.

Leading the charge for our racketlon regulars are the two seeded players Christian Börner and Rafal Szlazak. The two sit at opposite ends of the draw as they both compete for the second time this year after the French Open.

Facing Börner in the opening round is the returning Justin Farrin-Thorne. The British player is taking part in his fourth Malta Open, after last playing in 2018. After winning the Men’s C title in Paris this year, Szlazak will fancy his chances of more silverware. If he’s to achieve that in Paris then he’ll need a first-round victory over Switzerland’s Anthony Levavasseur.

The winner of Levavasseur and Szlazak will take on either Kim Ljungberg-Jensen or Simon Spiteri. Spiteri has flown the flag for Maltese racketlon over the years, having taken part in every edition of the tournament. Three times he’s won a silver medal at the tournament. Is 2022 the year he gets his hands on gold?

The final match in the first round pitches Switzerland’s Patrick Bürgi against Italian newcomer Diego Scalvini. How will Bürgi cope with the mystery of the unknown Italian?

The full Men’s B Singles draw is available here.

Women’s B Singles – Unknown Canadian Mixes in with Racketlon Regulars

The four-player Women’s B Singles box league is an engrossing mix of names as regular players Zuzana Vancuríková, Katrin Maldre and Gaëlle Wavre are joined by newcomer Sabrina Carew.

There’s a real North American flavour to this draw with Maldre hailing from America and Carew from Canada. The particular intrigue is around Carew, as she takes her first steps into international racketlon.

The other three will know a little more about each other’s game. Maldre and Wavre faced for the first time last year, with Maldre edging a tight match by six points in Romania. The American also holds a 5-0 head-to-head lead over Vancuríková, although most of their matches go deep into tennis.

Maldre, Wavre and Vancuríková will all sense that they can beat each other and get their hands on a Women’s B Singles title. Could Canada’s Carew spring a surprise and take them all down to triumph on her debut?

The full Women’s B Singles draw is available here.

Men’s B Doubles – Ahlmer and Enmer Return Looking for Another Final

At the IWT French Open earlier this year, Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Myriam Enmer teamed up to take on the men due to a lack of entries in the Women’s Doubles. In Paris, they finished as the runners up. Can they go one better in Malta?

The duo receive a bye through the first round so will begin in the semi-finals. They will end up taking on either Patrick Bürgi and James Langworthy or Calum Munro and Christian Börner. What is delightful to see is that the nationalities of the six players in the top half are all different, demonstrating racketlon’s variety.

Anna-Klara Ahlmer & Myriam Enmer finished second in the Men’s B Doubles at the IWT French Open (Image: Jean Michot)

The bottom half is similar as well with four more different nationalities. Italy’s Diego Scalvini and Malta’s Simon Spiteri are teaming up to take on Switzerland’s Anthony Levavasseur and Poland’s Pawel Skrzeczkowski. The winners of that match will advance to the semi-finals to play No.2 seeds Graham King and Kim Ljungberg-Jensen.

The full Men’s B Doubles draw is available here.

Mixed B Doubles – Defending Champions Vancuríková and Hobzik Lead the Box League

As with the Mixed A Doubles draw, a four-pair box league will decide the Malta Open champion.

Zuzana Vancuríková and Richard Hobzik head up the draw. The two have a glistening history together on the court, having won the last Malta Open Mixed B Doubles in 2019 and also both of the last two Austrian Open titles. It won’t be easy to defend their title this time around.

Kirsten Kaptein is teaming up with former +55 World Champion Martyn Langston to form a high-quality pairing in Malta. These two are the No.2 seeds and will play their final match against the top seeds on Friday.

That’s not to say that the champion couldn’t come from one of the other two pairings. Katrin Maldre has created a US-German pairing as she partners with Christian Börner. The North American representation continues as Canadian duo Sabrina Carew and Ben Anderson get together to make their international mixed doubles debut.

The full Mixed B Doubles draw is available here.

Men’s C Singles – Mystery Surrounds Draw as 80% Make Their Racketlon Debuts

There is a delicious intrigue surrounding the Men’s C Singles, with four of the five players making their international racketlon debut. Unfortunately, with so little information on all of the players, it makes for a quick preview.

British duo Sebastian Farrin-Thorne and Oliver Farin-Thorne are both in the draw as debutants. They are joined by Canada’s Ben Anderson and Malta’s Allen James Borg, as all four go in search of silverware. In fact, at least two of these rookies are guaranteed to land on the podium.

The man looking to stop a newcomer podium lockout is Benoit Truc. The Swiss player is still searching for his first silverware in racketlon himself, after only beginning at last year’s IWT Swiss Open.

The full Men’s C Singles draw is available here.

Seniors +50 Singles – Former World Champions Hobzik and Langston Favourites in Draw

The beauty of the seniors circuit is that you’re always guaranteed to get a couple of world champions or former world champions battling away on the court. This time in Malta, it’s Richard Hobzik and Martyn Langston who will tussle in the sunshine.

Both players are Men’s +55 Singles world champions, with Langston winning in 2018 and Hobzik triumphing a year later. They’ve met twice before, splitting the wins one apiece. Who will take the head-to-head lead in the series?

Joining the two former world champions in Malta is local hero Simon Spiteri and Poland’s Rafal Szlazak. The latter already has a Men’s C Singles title to his name this year after his heroics in France. Both he and Spiteri will be looking to cause a shock in Malta as they chase a gold medal in Malta.

The full Seniors +50 Singles draw is available here.

Seniors +60 Singles – King Top Seed in Fascinating Draw

The Seniors +60 Singles draw is a belter. There’s no other way of looking at it. You’ve got Graham King leading the charge. He’s the top seed and the seasoned professional who plays week-in-week out.

Next on the list, you’ve got Magnus Edby. The Swede recently made his long-awaited comeback at the Nick Matthew Steel City Open, beating King on his way to the crown there.

Then you’ve got Calum Munro. The Australian former world No.14 is also on the comeback path, competing in his first international racketlon tournament in over a decade.

Last but not least you’ve got the debutant Pawel Skrzeczkowski. The Pole adds a further element of intrigue to an already fascinating draw. The four players will take each other on a box league with just one winner’s medal up for grabs.

The Seniors +60 Singles draw is available here.

The full preview for the elite draws is available here.

Keep up with all the action from the IWT Malta Open on FacebookInstagram and Racketlon.net.

Interested in competing in a Racketlon World Tour event? The full 2022 World Tour is available here with a number of tournaments already open for entry.

Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer

Image Credit / Racketlon Australia

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