Rykowski Returns as Severinová Chases Title Defense | IWT Czech Open

Former European Championship winner Rav Rykowski is making his long-awaited return to the Racketlon World Tour, competing for the first time since 2020.

The Pole is the No.2 seed in the IWT Czech Open Men’s Elite Singles draw, with Nicolas Lenggenhager the top seed in the 16-player draw.

In the Women’s Singles draw, Zuzana Severinová looks to defend the title she won in 2021. A victory for the home favourite will also see her return to the top of the Women’s Singles Rankings.

Elsewhere, a number of World Champions are competing for the first time since their triumph in Austria, including Bastian Böhm and Magnus Edby.

Men’s Elite Singles – Rykowski Opens With Clash Against Sopko

Rav Rykowski will be back on the international racketlon scene for the first time in nearly three years as he takes part in the IWT Czech Open. We last saw the superb Pole at the 2020 Vienna New Year Classics, where he won the title in dominant fashion.

If he’s to win the title on his return he’ll first have to overcome IWT Swiss Open champion Martin Sopko in a blockbuster showdown. The two last played seven years ago, with Rykowski winning. However, Sopko has had a breakthrough season after winning his first career title in Zurich.

Two more Czechs are in the bottom quarter as Jakub Svec takes on Jan Port. Svec returns fresh from winning the Men’s B Singles at the World Championships and is now stepping up to make his debut in the elite category for the first time.

The top quarter is headlined by top seed Nicolas Lenggenhager, who is searching for his first career singles title. The Swiss World No.6 opens against Kamil Stanek. There’s further Czech interest in the top quarter as Michal Horácek takes on Anders Fyrst. Fyrst is flying the flag for Denmark alone.

Another player representing his country alone in the draw is Marcel Weigl. The Austrian sits in quarter two and will begin against Patrick Oettl. Michał Kurek is the seed in this quarter. The No.3 seeded Pole opens against Juniors U18 Singles World Champion Bastian Böhm. The talented young German is competing at the elite level for the first time.

Simon Vaclahovsky is the final seed in the draw and sits in quarter-four. The squash phenom begins against India’s Nihit Kumar Singh. The contest winner will take on Nikola Mikac or Czech wildcard David Skulina.

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

Women’s Elite Singles – Severinová Chasing Title and World No.1 Spot

Until the start of this month, Zuzana Severinová had been the World No.1 for much of this year. Due to some points dropping off from 2019, Severinová slipped down to No.4. Now, she has an immediate chance to rise back to the top.

She’ll be the heavy favourite as well. The home favourite joins Kirsten Kaptein, Virág Sákovics and British debutant Holly Ranson in the four-player box league. Like Severinová, Kaptein is also in the Top 10 of the Women’s World Rankings. She has also been an elite player for a number of years.

For Virág Sákovics, this is a step up in quality. The Hungarian has been a regular at the Women’s B level for some time, with great success. She finished as the runner-up at the Women’s B Singles in Prague four years ago. Last year she won the Women’s B Singles at the SWT GRAWE sidebyside 15. Austrian Open and also finished third at this year’s World Championships.

British Wildcard Holly Ranson is competing in the elite category for the first time. In fact, Ranson only made her international debut at this year’s World Championships. In the Girls U16 and U18 Singles, she only lost to eventual champions Aadirai K A and Bethany Pye, while also teaming up with Pye to secure the Girls U16 World title. With supreme badminton skills, could she reach the podium on her elite debut?

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

Men’s Elite Doubles – German Duo Lead Open Field

There are just four pairs in the Men’s Elite Doubles field, with Patrick Oettl and Simon Vaclahovky the top seeds. The German duo, who reached the final of the Men’s B Doubles at the World Championships, open against Rav Rykowski and Dariusz Adam Walczak. The Polish pair will be an interesting proposition, with Rykowski having never previously won an elite men’s doubles title.

The second seeds in the draw are Radu Ionescu and Marcel Weigl. It’s a presidential pairing with Ionescu the Romanian Federation president and Weigl the Austrian Federation president. They face Michał Kurek and Anders Fyrst, a Polish-Danish pairing. Kurek was seeking back-to-back doubles titles after his success at the Polish Open Challenger two months ago.

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

Women’s Doubles – Fresh Feel to Doubles Draw

With a lot of the top women not playing in Prague, there’s a fresh feel to the Women’s Doubles draw, with seven of the eight players rarely seen at this level.

Kirsten Kaptein is the lone exception to this rule. The Dutch star is chasing a second title this season and this time partners up with the local player and Seniors Mixed Doubles World Champion Zuzana Vancuríková. They open with a match against two Czechs, Klára Byrtusová and Kateřina Zobačová. Byrtusová won the Mixed U16 Doubles World title last year, while Zobačová is making her international debut.

Speaking of debuts, Great Britain’s Kirsten Atkinson is competing abroad on the Racketlon World Tour for the first time. She pairs up with Holly Ranson to sit in the bottom half of the draw. They will take on experienced Czech duo Nikola Cemusova and Lucie Hlavacova.

The full Women’s Doubles draw is available here.

Mixed Elite Doubles – Severinová and Lenggenhager Heavy Favourites

There is no doubt that the top 10 stars Zuzana Severinová and Nicolas Lenggenhager are the heavy favourites in this Mixed Doubles draw. The two team up for the first time in this four-pair draw and will begin against Zuzana Vancuríková and Milos Pospisil.

One thing guaranteed is that there will be at least one Czech champion in Prague. That is because every pair features at least one Czech player. Lenggenhager and Kirsten Kaptein are the only two non-Czechs to feature in the draw.

While Lenggenhager is partnering with Severinová, Kaptein teams up with Jan Port in the bottom half of the draw. Their campaign begins against Lucie Hlavacova and Jiří Egermaier, with the winner of that match guaranteed a spot in the final.

The full Mixed Elite Doubles draw is available here.

Men’s B Singles – World Champions Edby and Böhm Both Competing

Men’s +60 Singles World Champion Magnus Edby returns for the first time since Austria, competing in the Men’s B Singles. The Swede endures a tricky opener against Czech star Marek Hrůza. Hrůza won the Men’s B Singles at the Polish Open Challenger just two months ago.

Christian Börner, Frank Böhm and Filip Kos are the other three seeds in the draw, joining Hrůza. Börner begins against Matthias Heilbrunner, Böhm plays Tomas Jirouch and Kos takes on Christofer Hellberg.

After his superb performance at the Polish Open Challenger, Daniel Lipowski is also among the 16-player draw. He opens with a tricky contest against German veteran Volker Sach.

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

Women’s B Singles – Defending Champion Hlavacova Returns as Top Seed

After winning this title one year ago, Lucie Hlavacova returns to Prague looking to make it back-to-back triumphs. Hlavacova is one of six Czechs in the eight-player draw but begins against Germany’s Manuela Stegmann.

Doubles partners Klára Byrtusová and Kateřina Zobačová also meet in the top half of the draw. In the bottom half, Kirsten Atkinson’s international debut begins against Andrea Sopko. The last all-Czech contest sees Jana Severinova face Veronika Nováková.

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

Men’s B Doubles – World Champions Aplenty in Packed Field

There are 15 pairs in this jam-packed Men’s B Doubles draw, with Christian Heufelder and Nihit Kumar Singh the only two players with a bye through the first round as top seeds.

Matthias Heilbrunner and Dieter Mühl team up as the No.2 seeds. Men’s B Singles champion at the World Cup, Jakub Svec, is part of the No.3 seeded pairing alongside David Skulina. The final seeded pair is Oliver Bodem and Riccardo Raimo.

Littered among the rest of the field is an array of World Champions from this year’s tournament. Magnus Edby is competing alongside Anders Lätt in an all-Swedish duo.

Leonhard Prager, who won the Boys U16 Doubles world title, teams up with Leon Sam. In fact, they are one of a number of Austrian juniors heading to Prague, with Leon Steiner, Marwin Steiner-Pöschl, Florian Prorok and Benjamin Radl also in action. Superstar Hungarian Peter Sákovics is also in quarter-two with Patrik Sevesi, as they begin against Prorok and Sebesi.

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

Mixed B Doubles – Intriguing Draw Headlined by Königsmarková and Hrůza 

There are plenty of Czech hopes in the Mixed B Doubles draw, with four all-Czech pairs in action. Soňa Königsmarková and Marek Hrůza are the top seeds in the draw, opening against British duo Holly Ranson and Jordan Marcus.

The other match in the top half sees multiple World Champions Graham King partner with Kirsten Atkinson to take on Nikola Cemusova and Adam Rektořík.

Regular partners Virág Sákovics and Balázs Döbörhegyi are the No.2 seeds. They launch their bid for the title against Kateřina Zobačová and Mikuláš Zobač. The winner of that match will take on either Jana Severinova and Tomas Jirouch or Karolina Kalicka and Miroslaw Kalicki.

The full Mixed B Doubles draw is available here.

Men’s C Singles – Austrian Juniors Dominate Field

We mentioned the plethora of Austrian Juniors competing in the Men’s B Doubles earlier. Well, the bulk of them are all competing in the Men’s C Singles category as well. In fact, Leon Sam, Benjamin Radl, Leon Steiner and Leonhard Prager are among the eight-seeded players who receive a bye through to the second round thanks to their seeding.

The list of talented juniors competing in this draw does not end there. David Dvorský, Andreas Kotala, Marwin Steiner-Pöschl and Matěj Volf are all in first-round action. Home favourite Lukáš Dvořák is also among the four remaining seeded players to receive a bye through to the second round. The other seeded players are Riccardo Raimo, Balázs Döbörhegyi and Oliver Bodem.

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

Men’s D Singles – World Champion Fojtík Headlines Draw

Eight players are competing in the Men’s D Singles, with Juniors U13 Doubles world champion Michal Fojtík the No.1 seed. He is one of just two seeded players in the draw, with Martin Voplakal being the other. Because of his ranking, Voplakal sits at No.2 in the rankings.

Joining the two Czechs are three Germans, two Hungarians and an Austrian. Michael Lechner, Stefan Steckermeier and Christoph Steckermeier are the three Germans, Patrik Sebesi and Máté Horváth represent Hungary while Dieter Mühl flies the flag for Austria.

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

Juniors U13 Singles – Czech Podium Guaranteed

With three players competing in the Juniors U13 Singles, and all of them Czech, we’re guaranteed an all-Czech podium. Damian Roman, Michal Fojtík and Vít Zobač are the three players battling for the title.

The full Juniors U13 Singles draw is available here.

Juniors U16 Singles – Dvořák Chasing Title at Home Event

Last year, Lukáš Dvořák won the Juniors U18 Singles title at the IWT Czech Open. Remarkably, he’s still eligible for the Juniors U16 Singles title and is the top seed in the 12-player draw. The Czech star receives a bye through to the quarter-finals, along with the other three seeds Leon Steiner, Andreas Kotala and Leonhard Prager.

That leaves eight players battling in the first round battling to join the four seeds. Seven of those eight hail from Czechia, with World Champion Matěj Volf among them. The exception to this is Hungary’s Daniel Naumescu, who opens against Filip Gnida.

The full Juniors U16 Singles draw is available here

Girls U16 Singles – Ranson Looks to Break Up Czech Party

Four players are competing in the Girls U16 Singles draw, with Great Britain’s Holly Ranson looking to stop home hopes as the only player, not from Czechia.

Ranson is the No.2 seed in the draw, with Melánie Tomková the highest-seeded player in the draw. Tomková is one of a trio of Czechs, with Annemarie Del Favero and Marie Beranová the other two competitors.

The full Girls U16 Singles draw is available here.

Mixed U16 Doubles – Three Pair Box League to Decide Title

The three Czech girls competing in the Girls U16 Singles draw also make up a three-player box league in the Mixed U16 Doubles draw.

Marie Beranová and Michal Fojtík finished as runners-up in this category at the World Championships but are competing with different partners here in Prague. Beranová is partnering with Vilém Stráník while Fojtík is with Annemarie Del Favero.

The last pairing sees Austria’s Leonhard Prager team up with Melánie Tomková to complete the line-up.

The full Mixed U16 Doubles draw is available here.

Juniors U16 Doubles – Czech Silverware Guaranteed in All-Czech Field

Michal Fojtík has a busy day on Friday as he also teams up with Mikuláš Zobač in the Juniors U16 Doubles draw. There are three pairs in the draw, all featuring Czech players, as they compete in a box league format.

Joining Fojtík and Zobač are Filip Gnida and Vilém Stráník, as well as Damian Roman and Vít Zobač. It will be an all-Czech one-two-three on the podium guaranteed. But the real question is which pair will claim which medal?

The full Juniors U16 Doubles draw is available here.

Juniors U18 Singles – World Champion Böhm Makes Return to Tour

The last few years have seen an explosion of young talent on the Racketlon World Tour. The latest name on that production line is Bastian Böhm. The talented German exploded onto the scene in 2021 and continued that form this year, winning the Juniors U18 Singles world title in impressive style. Now, he’s the top seed in this five-player Juniors U18 Singles box league.

Böhm is joined in the division by a trio of Austrians; Leon Sam, Marwin Steiner-Pöschl and Benjamin Radl. They themselves are part of a growing contingent of Austrian Juniors, who are all travelling to the tournament in Prague. Completing the five-player line-up is two-time Juniors Doubles world champion David Dvorský. The young Slovakian is a slightly more unknown name but is another fast-rising talent. This will be a category worth monitoring with so much young talent on show.

The full Juniors U18 Singles draw is available here.

Mixed U18 Doubles – Former World Champions Return

Speaking of David Dvorský, he’s teaming up with Klára Byrtusová once again. The two won the Mixed U16 Doubles crown at this venue last year and return as the top seeds. They open against Annemarie Del Favero and Martin Voplakal.

Well-known Czech talent Lukáš Dvořák lurks in the bottom half alongside his partner Melánie Tomková. They are not seeded in this draw though. That honour goes to Marie Beranová and Filip Gnida.

The full Mixed U18 Doubles draw is available here.

Juniors U18 Doubles – World Champions Back in Action

While Dvorský and Dvořák may have avoided each other in the Mixed U18 Doubles draw, they are guaranteed to face off in the Juniors U18 Doubles draw. That is because the two are involved in a three-pair Box League.

Dvořák is teaming up once again with Matěj Volf. The two had a phenomenal World Championships, winning the Juniors U16 Teams world title in a blistering final against Great Britain.

Dvorský is also rekindling a World Championship-winning partnership. He teams up with Martin Voplakal once again, after the duo won the Juniors U16 Doubles world title in Prague last year.

Joining the two high-profile pairs in this box league are Daniel Jendřejek and Šimon Kniezek.

The full Juniors U18 Doubles draw is available here.

Seniors +40 Singles – Mikac and Böhm Headline Heavyweight Field

World Championship pedigree competition is not just limited to the Juniors category. Of the four seeds in the 12-player draw, two won world titles this year, with another one reaching the Seniors +40 Singles final.

Anders Fyrst and Frank Böhm are the two seeds who have won titles. Fyrst collected a second doubles world title alongside Soeren Smit while Böhm was part of the German team that won the +55 Seniors world title.

Top seed Nikola Mikac reached the final of the Seniors +40 Singles, where he lost to eventual champion Jermaine Manners. The fourth and final seed is Marek Hrůza, who is fresh from winning the Men’s B Singles at the Polish Open Challenger.

The full Seniors +40 Singles draw is available here.

Seniors +45 Doubles – Germans Looking for Silverware in Prague

This six-pair field may be dominated by Czech players but it’s four Germans that receive a bye through to the semi-finals. Christian Börner and Volker Sach are the top seeds with Frank Böhm and Ulrich Schlepphorst the No.2 seeds at the bottom of the draw.

That leaves the other two semi-final spots to be fought over by the four remaining pairs. Marc-André Rauber is the only non-Czech player in the first round as the Swiss talent partner with Robert Vlacilik. Jan Port and Martin Bartoš continue their partnership with World Champion Richard Hobzik also competing alongside Milos Pospisil.

The full Seniors +45 Doubles draw is available here.

Seniors +50 Singles – “Iron Man” Lipowski Joins King and Schlepphorst

Israel’s Itay Herskovits makes his international racketlon debut in a jam-packed eight-player Seniors +50 Singles draw. The Israeli begins against No.2 seed Ulrich Schlepphorst, while top seed Graham King faces local player Lubomir Pala.

Pala is one of three Czechs in the draw, with Jan Port and Milos Pospisil also in action. Port begins with a clash against Sweden’s Mikael Jonsson. That leaves Pospisil facing Daniel Lipowski. The Pole is looking for back-to-back Seniors +50 Singles titles after claiming victory at the Polish Open Challenger in September.

The full Seniors +50 Singles draw is available here.

Seniors +55 Singles – Can Anyone Stop World Champion Edby?

Magnus Edby looked almost unbeatable at the World Championships this year and returns to action again in the Seniors +55 Singles event. Despite his world title, Edby is not seeded in the draw, instead facing Romania’s Radu Ionescu in the second match of the top half.

Instead, it is Volker Sach and Peter Sákovics who enjoy seedings in this eight-player draw. Sach faces Robert Vlacilik while Sákovics takes on Marc-André Rauber. The final match in the draw sees Steve Rayson take on Miroslaw Kalicki.

One particularly interesting note about this draw is that it features eight players from eight different countries, a fairly uncommon feat on the Racketlon World Tour. Germany, Czechia, Sweden, Romania, Poland, Switzerland, Hungary and the Netherlands are all represented.

The full Seniors +55 Singles draw is available here.

Follow the result from the IWT Czech Open throughout the weekend here.

We will also have additional coverage from the tournament on Facebook and Instagram.

Interested in competing on the Racketlon World Tour? We’ve still got the La Santa Open available to enter in December. The first announcement about the 2023 Racketlon World Tour is available here, with a second announcement coming soon.

Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer

Image / rubinfoto.com

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