Griffiths & Ahlmer Lead the Charge in Riga | IWT Latvian Open

The Latvian Open makes its long-awaited return this weekend with Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Leon Griffiths the top seeds in Riga.

Anna-Klara Ahlmer makes her first appearance on the Racketlon World Tour since the Malta Open and is joined in the draw by the likes of Kirsten Kaptein and Stine Krogsøe.

New World No.10 Oliver Bühler is in the Men’s Singles draw alongside the likes of Leon Griffiths, Luke Griffiths, René Lindberg and Christian Schaefer.

In total there are almost 50 players in the Latvian capital. Here is your preview of every category.

Men’s Singles – Griffiths Brothers Return for Another Potential Showdown

Leon Griffiths loves Latvia. He’s said on many occasions that it’s one of his favourite tournaments. So we’re delighted to see him back chasing another title here. The last time he was here he lost a dramatic final to Morten Jaksland by one point. As the top seed, he’ll be looking to put those demons behind him and add a third title to his collection this season.

With 12 players in the draw, Griffiths has a bye through to the quarter-finals as the top seed. There, he will take on either fellow Brit Matthew Haynes or returning Australian Leigh Sands. Haynes and Sands will compete alongside each other on the doubles court first on Friday, before turning their attention to each other in the Men’s Singles.

Leon Griffiths is chasing his third title of the season (Image: Rene Zwald / Jonas Von Sachs)

The second quarter in the top half has René Lindberg as the seeded player. The Swede will either take on New Zealand wildcard Sion Wiggin or face Luke Griffiths in a long-awaited rematch. Lindberg and Griffiths produced one of racketlon’s classic matches at the 2018 World Championships, where Griffiths shocked Lindberg with a sensational performance.

If they are to face each other again, Griffiths first has to overcome Wiggin, who was superb in his World Tour debut in Switzerland, finishing fifth and beating Nicolas Lenggenhager. If Griffiths can emerge victorious from this sector then that could set up a second meeting with brother Leon. Luke beat Leon in Sheffield earlier this year so that would be a fascinating semi-final if it were to happen.

Men’s Singles – Bühler Looks to Cement Top 10 Place

Oliver Bühler has been flirting with making his Men’s Singles Top 10 debut for a while and this month it finally happened. Now, he gets a chance to instantly cement his status as a Top 10 racketlon player.

First up, he’ll take on either Arturs Zaicevs or Matthew Davidson. Zaicevs will have the backing of home support as the lone Latvian in this year’s elite draw. But Davidson is one of Racketlon’s brightest talents and this will be a tough opener.

Oliver Bühler is chasing silverware as the No.2 seed in Riga (Image: Rene Zwald & Jonas Von Sachs)

Another bright youngster is Joel Pennanen. The young Finn returns to the Racketlon World Tour and also lands in the bottom half of the draw. He opens his campaign against Michal Horácek. The Czech is playing in his first tournament of 2022 as he looks to end a five-match losing streak that he suffered last year. The winner of that match will advance to take on No.3 seed Christian Schaefer. The Swiss player is another who is looking to break into the Top 10 later this year.

The full Men’s Singles draw is available here.

Women’s Singles – Ahlmer Leads Women’s Singles Field

The Women’s Singles draw is a fascinating blend of experience, youth and debutants as seven players take to the court in Riga. The top seed and favourite is Anna-Klara Ahlmer. The Swede has collected a handful of titles over the last 12 months and is in the race to be World No.1 in the Women’s Singles rankings.

With seven players in the draw, Ahlmer receives a bye-through to the first round. There, she’ll take on either Stine Krogsøe – who is making her first Racketlon World Tour appearance since 2020 – or Latvian debutant Agnese Logosa. It’s always fun to have debutants in any racketlon draw but it does make previewing them particularly tricky. 

Stine Krogsøe is back on the Racketlon World Tour (Image:

The bottom half of the draw also features matches between Latvia and the rest of the world. The No.2 seed is Kirsten Kaptein and she opens against Vizma Simane. While Kaptein is one of the Racketlon World Tour’s most experienced players, Simane is making her international debut.

The second match is a fascinating showdown between Girls Juniors World No.1 Alexandra Ogram and Latvia’s Sanita Sveile. Sveile, unlike her two Latvian compatriots, has some pedigree at this tournament. She has both won the Women’s B and Women’s +40 Singles titles here before and also finished runner-up in the Women’s A. Does that make her the most dangerous player in this draw? Possibly.

The Women’s Singles draw is available here.

Mixed Doubles – Ahlmer and Lindberg Partnering Again

Anna-Klara Ahlmer and René Lindberg had a rough outing at the French Open earlier this year, losing on a gummiarm to Myriam Enmer and Damien Andre in a fierce battle. They arrive in Riga as the top seeds seeking redemption and silverware.

If they are to achieve that they first need to battle past Kirsten Kaptein and Sion Wiggin. Wiggin is competing in his second Mixed Doubles draw and is this time partnering with the Netherlands’ Kaptein. With four pairs in the draw, the winner of this match will advance to the final.

In the final, the winner will play either Alexandra Ogram and Luke Griffiths or Stine Krogsøe and Roland Pichler. The latter is one of the Racketlon World Tour’s most established partnerships but has not been seen too regularly since the pandemic. We’re looking forward to seeing them back on a court together.

They face a tricky task in their opening match though. Alexandra Ogram and Luke Griffiths are both at the top of the Junior Rankings and are now teaming up for the first time as they go in search of silverware.

The full Mixed Doubles draw is available here.

Men’s Doubles – Defending Champions Griffiths Brothers Return

At the site of their first title together as a pair, Luke and Leon Griffiths return looking for a second Men’s Doubles title of the season. The duo headline a four-pair draw and open against Matthew Davidson and Sion Wiggin.

Davidson and Wiggin is a fascinating team as New Zealand’s champion partners with one of Britain’s finest. This is a matchup worthy of a final but instead, these four will battle it out at the semi-final stage.

Will the Griffiths Brothers pick up a second doubles title of the season?

The No.2 seeds are Joel Pennanen and Arturs Zaicevs. The Finn and the Latvian are teaming up for the first time as they look to advance to their first final together. It’s been a good year on the doubles court for Pennanen, who won his first elite title back in February at the French Open. Can he make it two titles in a year in Latvia?

If he’s to do that then the duo first need to defeat the squash-stud team of Matthew Haynes and Leigh Sands. The Australian is making his return to the Racketlon World Tour as he prepares for the World Championships and is partnering with old friend Haynes.

The full Men’s Doubles draw is available here.

Women’s Doubles – Three Pairs Battle for Glory in Riga

There is one less pair in the Women’s Doubles than the Men’s Doubles and the Mixed Doubles meaning we’ve got ourselves a box league.

Top of that Box League is Women’s Doubles World No.1 Anna-Klara Ahlmer. She’s playing alongside Kirsten Kaptein as she looks to become the 8th player in racketlon history to win 10 Women’s Doubles titles. Kaptein has three herself which makes these two the hot favourites for the gold.

Joining them are Stine Krogsøe and Alexandra Ogram as well as Vizma Simane and Sanita Sveile. Historic results would suggest that these two pairs are fighting for a silver medal but absolutely anything can happen in racketlon and you never know what to expect, especially from the largely unknown Latvian pair.

The Women’s Doubles draw is available here.

Men’s B Singles – Pichler Headlines a Rare Men’s Box League

It’s not often that we get a four-player box league in the Men’s B Singles at a Racketlon World Tour event but that is the situation in Riga. The top seed in this draw is Roland Pichler. The Austrian is making his long-awaited return to the Racketlon World Tour after last appearing at the Vienna Classics in early 2020.

In fact, it’s a Men’s B that is littered with players making comebacks. Both Michael Strässle and Stefan Nilsson are competing in their first tournament of the year and only their second since 2019. For Latvia’s Ivo Keiss, this is the first event in three years, since the last Latvian Open.

Pichler and Nilsson are the only two players in this box league to have faced off before on the singles court. That showdown came five years ago, with Nilsson coming back from a 21-5 table tennis loss to win against Pichler.

The rest of the match-ups will be for the first time on a singles court. Who is going to win the Men’s B Singles? You’ll have to wait and see.

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

Mixed B Doubles – Six Unranked Players Battle for Glory

There is not a whole lot that can be said about the Mixed B Doubles draw, with all six players currently unranked.

Leigh Sands and Sanita Sveile are recognisable names based on the success of their past singles but that is likely where my knowledge ends.

What we have now is a mystery couple of pairings. One is an all-Latvian team of Agnese Logosa and Romans Logoss. The second sees Latvia’s Vizma Simane team up with Estonian debutant Kristjan Teeäär.

The full Mixed Doubles draw is available here.

Men’s B Doubles – Schaefer, Lindberg, King and Dzirkalis Involved in Stacked Draw

If some of the other draws are a little light on pairings, the Men’s B Doubles draw is absolutely loaded.

We’ve got 11 duos teaming up in search of silverware, with five pairs receiving a bye through to the quarter-finals.

Leading that group are Graham King and Peter Robic. The Swiss-Austrian pair will take on either a pair of Estonians or Swedes in their opener. That is because Timm Rannu and Meelis Seppam will face Magnus Åberg and Anders Gustafsson.

The second match in the top half is a straight quarter-final shootout. Father-Son duo Arturs Dzirkalis and Uldis Dzirkalis team up as the No.4 seeds. Their opponents are Roland Pichler and Danish debutant Rachid Bech-Azeddine.

The bottom half features some familiar faces. Christian Schaefer and Michael Strässle are the No.2 seeds and are guaranteed to face at least one Latvian in their opener. Maris Mazapss and Armands Steins will take on Aivars Lucijanovs and Great Britain’s Anton Robb for a quarter-final spot.

The final first round contest sees Janis Jenzis and Ilgvars Uzuls face Vadims Culka and Kristjan Teeäär. The winners will advance to the quarter-finals to take on No.3 seeds René Lindberg and Stefan Nilsson.

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

Men’s C Singles –  Szlazak Going for Second Title of the Season

Rafał Szlazak is the top seed in Riga. The Pole is looking to win his second Men’s C Singles title of the season after triumphing in Paris. To do that though, he’ll have to come through four matches in this stacked Men’s C Singles draw.

The other three seeds are Finland’s Seppo Raiski, Sweden’s Anders Gustafsson and Estonia’s Timm Rannu. Half of the draw are flying the flag for Latvia, with five of those players making their international racketlon debut.

Rafał Szlazak (left) has been on podiums all over the world already this year.

Sweden’s Jonas Warne is also in the draw, as is Great Britain’s, Anton Robb, who is making his international racketlon debut. Speaking of debuts, Kristjan Teeäär is competing here after his doubles duty on Friday. He’s one of three Estonians in the draw, alongside seeded Rannu and returning Meelis Seppam.

As the top seed and a multiple Men’s C Singles winner, Szlazak is the favourite but not by much. With so many players making their debut or competing in their second or third tournament, this is a draw with plenty of mystery and intrigue.

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

Men’s +40 Singles – Swiss Talent on Show in Latvia

You would be forgiven for confusing the Men’s +40 Singles draw in Latvia with that of last month’s IWT Swiss Open. The two seeded players are both from Switzerland, with Graham King also taking part in the eight-player monrad.

Christian Schaefer is the top seed as he opens against Estonia’s Timm Rannu. Schaefer is, alongside Ray Jordan, hunting down Duncan Stahl at the top of the Men’s Seniors Singles rankings.

King also lands in the top half of the draw. The racketlon legend faces a Latvian debutant in the opening round as he takes on Vadims Culka.

In the bottom half, there is a mouthwatering clash between Manfred Grab and Uldis Dzirkalis. Both have serious pedigree at this level, having won titles at this age group in the past.

The final match in the opening round is an Estonian-Swedish affair. Debutant Kristjan Teeäär takes on Magnus Åberg  with the winner facing either Grab or Dzirkalis.

The full Men’s Seniors +40 Singles draw is available here.

Women’s +40 Seniors Singles – Kaptein Stares Down the Latvian Challenge

It’s a story of the Netherlands against Latvia for the Women’s +40 Seniors Singles crown. Kirsten Kaptein is the top seed in the three-player box league. Her run at the title will attempt to be thwarted by Latvian duo Vizma Simane and Sanita Sveile.

While Simane is making her debut, Sveile has some serious pedigree. She won this very crown four years ago here in Latvia and has defeated the likes of Tanja Omlin, Carola Von Heimburg and Dara Ladner in the past. Could Kaptein be her next victim?

The full Women’s +40 Seniors Singles draw is available here.

Men’s +50 Seniors Singles – Four Scandinavians in Six Player Battle for Title

It’s set to be a Scandinavian-fest in the Men’s +50 Seniors Singles with four of the six players heralding from either Denmark, Sweden or Finland. However, the two-seeded players are from elsewhere.

The top seed and headlining Group A is Graham King. The Swiss player is joined by Finland’s Seppo Raiski and Sweden’s Jonas Warne. Raiski has won all five previous meetings with King, although their last one came three years ago. Warne has not played either King or Raiski before.

Group B is headlined by Poland’s Rafał Szlazak. He finished second in this division in Malta and won the Men’s C Singles final in Paris. If he wants another final here then he will have to beat both Rachid Bech-Azeddine and Kimmo Pennanen. The latter has a rich history at this level, having won the Finnish Open at +50 level four years ago. Meanwhile, Bech-Azeddine is making his international debut.

The full Men’s +50 Seniors Singles draw is available here.

Keep up to date with the IWT Latvian Open all weekend on Facebook, Instagram and

Check out the 2022 Racketlon World Tour here. We currently have multiple tournaments open for players of all ages and abilities.

Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer

Image / Rene Zwald & Jonas Von Sachs

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