Alice Flatman, Thomas Larsen, Bethany Pye and Mark Steeden all won multiple titles at the IWT London Open.
Great Britain’s Flatman dominated the singles court, winning both the Women’s B and Women’s +40 crowns.
Larsen teamed up with Mark Steeden to win the Men’s +45 Doubles title, while also triumphing in the Men’s +55 Singles. Steeden won the Men’s +45 Singles title in dominant fashion to also take home two titles.
On her international racketlon debut, Bethany Pye won the Mixed C Doubles title alongside Julian Clapp and produced an incredible comeback to beat Cherisse Lau for the Girls U21 Singles title.
Here is the full report from all the Juniors, Seniors and Amateurs categories at the IWT London Open.
Men’s B Singles – Lentfer Marks Comeback with Superb Title
It’s been nearly three years since we’ve last seen Thorsten Lentfer grace a racketlon court. With his performance in London, it’s like he’s never been away.
The catalyst to Lentfer’s run to the title was his dominant table tennis. He won 21-3 in his first match as he beat David Bennett by +23 before tennis. Switzerland’s Léon Mamié was his next victim, although this was his closest match of the tournament. Despite Lentfer winning the first three sports, they were all tight, meaning he only led by nine before tennis. He eventually got the win by seven points.
Great Britain’s Luke Barnes was his semi-final opponent. These two have both played elite-level racketlon before and showed their class with some scintillating badminton and squash. In the end, Lentfer’s table tennis domination saw him into the final where he would face Ross Wilson.
Wilson had battled hard to reach the last two, taking out Jac Goodall in the first round before recovering from 18 points down to beat Jimmy Tay in the semi-finals. The young Brit was superb in the semi-final, taking out top seed Guidi Weijel to reach his first Men’s B Singles final since the Malta Open in 2019.
The final was a fantastic battle. Despite winning the table tennis 21-7, Lentfer only lead by two points after squash, meaning we had a full set of tennis on our hands. In the end, the German was too good, winning 21-14 to collect his first racketlon singles title in eight years.
Barnes joined Lentfer and Wilson on the podium after beating Weijel in the third-placed playoff.
The full Men’s B Singles results are available here.
Women’s B Singles – Flatman Beats Pye in Nailbiting Final
Speaking of table tennis success, Alice Flatman’s Women’s B Singles run was built on her skills in the sport. The Brit produced two tennis comebacks on her way to the final. First, she recovered from trailing by eight points against Joanna Bennett to win tennis 21-6 in her first round.
In the semi-final, she achieved a similar feat against Jane Galsworthy. Flatman was two points down after squash but won 21-9 to book herself a place in the final.
Meeting her in the final would be debutant Bethany Pye. The talented young Brit eliminated top seed Julia Schirutschke in round one. In the semi-final, she trailed by 22 points after badminton but won the final two sports 21-8 and 21-3 to advance to a first career final.
The final itself was one of the matches of the weekend. Flatman typically dominated table tennis, winning 21-5 after winning her previous two matches 21-4. Pye then battled back in the middle two sports, winning 21-14 and 21-12 to leave it dead level before tennis. The tennis set was neck-and-neck with the two still inseparable at 21-21. Flatman then won the next two points to edge out a spectacular final.
There was even more drama in the bronze medal match. Hong Kong’s Tsz Yan Joyce Chan edged out Jane Galsworthy, winning on a gummiarm despite losing the tennis set 21-7.
The full Women’s B Singles results are available here.
Men’s B Doubles – Bishop and Ridout Continue Unbeaten Run at Roehampton
In 2019 Jack Bishop and David Ridout won the London Open Men’s B Doubles title at the Roehampton Club. Three years later and they won the title again. Although it was not easy.
Their opening match against Peter Browning and Anthony Duthuillé was a bruising battle which saw the Brits win by four points at the end of a tight tennis set. Their semi-final against No.2 seeds Johnny Bispham and Mark Steeden was also tight through the first three sports. A crushing 21-6 tennis set saw Bishop and Ridout return to the final for a second time.
In the other half of the draw, it was a much more straightforward path for top seeds Patrick Bürgi and Leigh Sands. The Swiss-Australian duo first took out Matthew Page and Kieran Shelley before beating the returning Paul Lindsay and Jimmy Tay. Both matches were won before tennis.
Like Bishop and Ridout’s semi-final, the final came down to a full set of tennis. The Brits had taken the table tennis 21-14 but lost the middle two sports to leave it dead level. Bishop and Ridout wrestled control on Roehampton Club’s grass courts, winning the tennis 21-14 to ensure they remain unbeaten at the historic London venue.
There were another pair of Brits on the podium as Bispham and Steeden beat Lindsay and Tay for the bronze medal.
The full Men’s B Doubles results are available here.
Mixed B Doubles – Team Ladner Triumphs in London
We spoke in the preview about the delights of half of this draw being made up of family teams. Well, it was one of those family teams that walked away with the gold medal.
Dara Ladner and Beat Ladner were the top seeds in the Mixed B Doubles and lived up to their billing. After a bye in the first round, they took on Susie Dilloway and Nick Rate in the semi-finals. That success was built on an impressive 21-9 badminton win before finishing the job with a 16-9 tennis victory.
In the final, the Ladners would take on Jane Galsworthy and Peter Browning. The Brits had produced a superb tennis comeback, winning 21-13 to eliminate No.2 seeds Jo Shelley and Kieran Shelley by two points in the semi-finals.
The final would be just as tight. The Ladners raced into a 12-point lead after table tennis but a 21-8 badminton loss saw Galsworthy and Browning take the lead. From there, the last two sports were extremely tight. Team Ladner narrowly edged the squash 21-17 before wrapping up the win with a 19-17 tennis victory. This is the second title for the Swiss pair after they won the Luxembourg Open Mixed B Doubles crown two years ago.
There was a second family team on the podium as Team Shelley beat Dilloway and Rate for bronze.
The full Mixed B Doubles results are available here.
Men’s C Singles – Barton Makes Breakthrough with Stunning Run to Title
The large Men’s C Singles draw had an array of dramatic moments, with three matches being settled by three points or less. All of those matches involved finalists Ollie Barton and Duncan Marlow.
After first taking out Jordan Marcus, Ollie Barton produced a phenomenal tennis comeback to win 21-6 against Kieran Shelley in the quarter-finals, winning the overall match by just two points. Barton then booked his spot in the final by taking out another seed – No.2 Beat Ladner.
Marlow’s tournament began with a straightforward victory over Marc-André Rauber. Things then took a turn for the dramatic. Trailing by 22 points after badminton, Marlow won 21-8 and 21-9 against Rakesh Gupta to seal a memorable +3 comeback win in the quarter-finals.
Marlow’s semi-final against Patrick Bürgi followed a similar pattern. The Brit was 14 points down after badminton before winning 21-10 and 21-16 to win by just two points and set up a final against Barton.
There would be no third comeback for Marlow. Barton made a ferocious start, winning the table tennis 21-8 and didn’t look back. In the end, Barton won the squash and tennis to win by 18 points and collect his first Racketlon World Tour title.
After his agonising +2 loss to Marlow, Patrick Bürgi won the all-Swiss battle against Ladner to win a bronze medal.
The full Men’s C Singles results are available here.
Men’s C Doubles – Leighton and Rate Dominate Table Tennis to Collect Title
Well, I predicted in the tournament preview that Cameron Leighton and Nick Rate wouldn’t lose a table tennis set and I was right. Not only did they not lose a set, but they actually lost just 17 points on their way to the Men’s C Doubles title.
The duo didn’t drop a set in their opener against Daniel Austin and Charlie Hill. In the semi-finals, they lost the squash 21-15 but won the table tennis and badminton by enough to leave themselves with minimal to do on the tennis court.
It would be a final between the two seeded pairs in the draw after No.2 seeds Ollie Barton and Chase Burgess roared into the final. Peter Claxton and Joe Lazelle were their first victims before they eliminated Matthew Ground and late stand-in Andy Wilson in the semi-finals before tennis.
Leighton and Rate roared ahead in the final, leading by 26 points after badminton. While Barton and Burgess took the squash 21-15, it was not enough. Leighton and Rate got the two points they needed in tennis to win the Men’s C Doubles title.
It was a marvellous debut for Ireland’s Daniel Long, as he won a bronze medal alongside Adam Turner.
The full Men’s C Doubles results are available here.
Mixed C Doubles – Pye’s Run of Dramatic Finals Continues as She Wins Title with Clapp
A running theme throughout the London Open was Bethany Pye getting involved in incredible tight finals. She lost the Women’s B Singles final by two points. The Mixed C Doubles final was decided by just a single point.
Pye and Clapp reached the final after eliminating Germany’s Julia Schirutschke and Andreas Baumung before tennis. In the final, they would play Cherisse Lau and Jac Goodall who had defeated Reka Kemecsei and Fahad Rana.
Pye and Clapp made the faster start to the final after winning the table tennis 21-10. But the tables turned in the middle two sports. Lau and Goodall won badminton 21-8 and then took the squash 21-19 to leave them four points up before tennis.
Lau and Goodall fought hard, getting to 16 points and one point away from forcing a gummiarm. Pye and Clapp had slightly too much for them though, winning 21-16 to triumph by a single point and collect their first Mixed Doubles titles.
It ended up being an all-British podium as Kemescsei and Rana beat the German duo for bronze.
The full Mixed C Doubles results are available here.
Men’s D Singles – Ireland’s Long Impresses on Debut
We mentioned how Daniel Long won a Men’s C Doubles bronze medal. Well, his run in the singles was even more fruitful. Not only did he win the Men’s D Singles, but he did so while losing just two sets.
He made light work of Louis Temple in the first round before battling to a hard-fought victory over Bankim Chandra in the semi-finals. In the final, Long would play fellow debutant, Fahad Rana. Rana had received a walkover in his first round before beating Peter Claxton in the first round after a crushing 21-2 squash victory.
Despite winning the match by 28 points, Long was actually down by six points after badminton. However, the Irishman came alive across the back two sports, winning 21-5 and 21-3 to secure a first Racketlon World Tour title.
Chandra joined Long and Rana on the podium after beating Claxton by eight points in the third-place match.
The full Men’s D Singles results are available here.
Juniors U13 Singles – Austin Defends Title
Last year, Daniel Austin won his first Racketlon World Tour title when he claimed the Juniors U13 Singles title at the London Open held in Redbridge. This year, he defended that title.
Young Austin is a superb talent and demonstrated all of his skills, dropping just one set during the category. He opened with a comfortable win against Harry Walker before beating Ireland’s Oscar Long in impressive fashion.
Long beat Walker and also defeated Julietta Dübendorfer to ensure that, even before the final round of matches, Austin had already won. He made sure that the win was emphatic as he defeated Dübendorfer in his final match to finish unbeaten.
Long won the silver medal with Walker beating Dübendorfer for bronze.
The full Juniors U13 Singles results are available here.
Juniors U16 Singles – Burgess Beats Hickling for Second Career Title
Chase Burgess is making a name for himself on the Juniors circuit after winning his second Juniors U16 Singles title on British soil this year. Burgess landed in Group B of this six-player draw and defeated both Oscar Long and Ollie Barton to progress to the final. His match against Barton was the tightest they’ve had, with Burgess winning by five points thanks to an impressive 21-5 tennis win.
Joining Burgess in the final was a debutant, Ronnie Hickling. The youngster is a superb squash player, dropping just one point in his two group matches. Those dominant squash performances saw him beat both Daniel Austin and Jacob Long to advance.
In the final, Burgess’ experience shone through. He won table tennis to 12 and badminton to 11 to establish a good lead before squash. Hickling, as expected, won the squash 21-5 but that left Burgess needing 19 on the tennis court, something he managed with room to spare.
Barton then went on to beat Austin to finish with a bronze medal.
The full Juniors U16 Singles results are available here.
Juniors U21 Singles – Harca Makes Statement with Dominant Run to Title
Florian Harca is one of Racketlon’s brightest young talents and he put his skills on show with a ruthless run to the Juniors U21 Singles title.
Harca was joined in the draw by seven other British players, opening against David Bennett. After beating Bennett, Harca next took out table Cameron Leighton to reach the final. Before the final, Harca had won all of his sets and not lost more than 14 points in any. That changed in the final against Ross Wilson.
Wilson, who also reached the Men’s B Singles final, had to work hard to make the last two here as well. He battled to a narrow +4 win against Anant Gupta before beating Ryan Bezer by 19 points in the semi-final.
Harca raced away with the table tennis, winning 21-3 in emphatic style. Wilson slightly cut into the lead, edging the badminton 21-19. However, the Austrian prodigy wrapped up the win with a 21-11 victory on the squash court. A superb first title of the season for Harca.
Leighton joined the duo on the podium after seeing off Bezer.
The full Juniors U21 Singles results are available here.
Girls U21 Singles – Pye Beats Lau in Nailbiter
The Girls U21 Singles category was a straight shoot-out for the title between Cherisse Lau and Bethany Pye. Lau won this title in Sheffield earlier this year. Could she make it two out of two on British soil? Not this time.
Instead, it was Pye whose table tennis and tennis skills saw her win the overall match by just one point. She won the table tennis 21-10 before Lau fought back, winning the badminton 21-4 and squash 21-13. That left Lau needing eight for the win and seven for a gummiarm. Pye, remarkably, won 21-6 to seal a sensational victory and her second title by just +1 in the final.
The full Girls U21 Singles results are available here.
Men’s +40 Singles – Jordan Edges Lesser in Rivalry Showdown
The last two times that Ray Jordan and Keith Lesser have faced off, Lesser has got the victory. Was he able to win a third title in a row? It was looking good for Lesser after the squash as he led by seven points heading into the tennis. But he couldn’t close it out. Jordan won the tennis 21-12 to take the match by just two points.
Thomas Vico and alternate Graham King were the other two players battling for the title. Jordan opened his weekend by taking out Thomas Vico, before securing the title with a routine win against King to collect a superb title.
After losing to Jordan, Lesser also defeated Vico and King to secure second place. Vico then used his tennis skills to beat King and take the bronze medal back to France.
The full Men’s +40 Singles results are available here.
Women’s +40 Singles – Flatman Beats Dübendorfer for Second Title
It was a busy Sunday for Alice Flatman as she had the rare experience of playing three matches. That is because, as well as her Women’s B Singles final, she also had two Women’s +40 Singles matches.
At the end of Saturday, Esther Dübendorfer was in control of this five-player box league. She had won her opening three matches against Jane Galsworthy, Joanna Bennett and Dianne Baker to leave her one win from the title.
Sunday morning saw a showdown between Flatman and Dübendorfer for the glory. Flatman raced into the lead with a 21-6 table tennis triumph but ended up being six points behind going into tennis. The Brit is a superb tennis player though and secured the victory after winning 21-12.
Flatman then guaranteed herself a second title after beating Dianne Baker. Dübendorfer finished with the silver medal behind Flatman. The bronze medal also came down to a Sunday showdown. Galsworthy beat Bennett early on in the day to secure her spot on the podium.
The full Women’s +40 Singles results are available here.
Men’s +45 Singles – Steeden Needs No Tennis
You know that you’ve had a successful racketlon weekend when you don’t need your tennis racket to win a title. That was the case for Mark Steeden as he dominated the Men’s +45 Singles category.
Steeden opened with a win over No.2 seed Peter Barton, nullifying his squash to win before tennis. Ireland’s Daniel Long was the next to fall at the hands of Steeden. Long actually won the squash 21-17 but a 21-2 table tennis loss had been too much for him to recover from.
In the final, Steeden would take on top seed Martyn Langston. The former World +55 Singles champion had fought past Giovanni Gentile and Richard Davies to reach the final but found Steeden too much.
Steeden lost the table tennis 21-18 but 21-8 and 21-10 results on the badminton and squash courts were enough to see him seal the title. That caps off a fantastic two months for Steeden as he adds two titles in London to the Men’s B Doubles that he won at last month’s IWT Swiss Open.
Giovanni Gentile narrowly beat Daniel Long to snatch the bronze medal.
The full Men’s +45 Singles results are available here.
Men’s +45 Doubles – Singles Champions Team Up for Doubles Glory
Speaking of Mark Steeden, his other London Open success came in the Men’s +45 Doubles alongside Thomas Ostenfeld Larsen. The duo were the No.2 seeds in the four-pair draw and opened against Jan Menneken and Andrew Wakely.
The experience of Larsen and Steeden shone through as they wrapped up the match before tennis. That left them taking on Swiss pair Giovanni Gentile and Beat Ladner in the final.
Gentile and Ladner had defeated top seeds Julian Clapp and Graham King in the first round but couldn’t win a second match against a seeded pair in the final. They did win the table tennis 21-18 but that is where their success ended.
Larsen and Steeden wrestled control of the final with a 21-15 badminton before extending that lead to 21-11 on the squash court. Although Gentile and Ladner won the tennis 11-9, it was Larsen and Steeden who grabbed the title.
Clapp and King finished with a bronze medal after receiving a walkover against Menneken and Wakely.
The full Men’s +45 Doubles results are available here.
Men’s +55 Singles – Imperious Larsen Dominates Field
It is little surprise that Mark Steeden and Thomas Ostenfeld Larsen won the doubles when you look at their singles domination. Thomas Larsen not only won the Men’s +55 Singles title, but did so winning all 11 of the sets that he played.
Larsen first took on Ray Ryan, winning all sets to single figures and wrapping up the match before tennis. In his second match, Larsen beat Switzerland’s Marc-André Rauber convincingly to leave him one win from the title.
Julian Clapp, the current Men’s +65 World Champion, also beat both Ryan and Rauber. That meant that the final match between Larsen and Clapp was a showdown for the title.
Larsen won all four sports, although each was a lot closer as Clapp put up a fierce fight. The Dane won 21-14, 21-17, 21-10, 21-16 to take the title by an eventual +27. Both players will now turn their attention to next month’s World Championships where they’ll each be contenders in their age groups.
Ray Ryan finished on the podium after beating Rauber by nine points.
The full Men’s +55 Singles results are available here.
The full report from the elite categories at the IWT London Open is available here.
Interested in competing in a Racketlon World Tour tournament? Our list of 2022 tournaments is available here, with all tournaments hosting a range of different categories so that players of all ages and abilities can take part.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Leigh Sands