Amateurs, Juniors & Seniors Preview | IWT La Santa Open

With a record 93 players heading to Lanzarote for the IWT La Santa Open, we’re set for the biggest tournament in the island’s history.

That many players mean we’ve also got more categories than ever before. In fact, there are nine Amateurs, Juniors and Seniors categories in total. We’re now going to preview each and every single one before the tournament begins on Saturday.

Men’s B Singles – World U16 Singles Champion Steyer Amongst-Brit-Heavy Draw

British players make up almost one-third of the IWT La Santa Open, and that is no more evident than in the Men’s B Singles. Nine of the 16 players in the draw hail from the United Kingdom – but it’s Boys U16 World Singles Champion Lucas Steyer that is the most eye-catching name.

Steyer is the No.4 seed and has landed in the second quarter where he’ll begin his campaign against Anant Gupta. The other match in this section is also a France versus Britain clash as Aurélien Bellaton takes on wildcard Jordan Marcus. Can either of the Brits get revenge for France’s recent win in the FIFA World Cup?

The top seed in the Men’s B Singles is World No.75, David Bennett. The Brit finished with a bronze medal in the Men’s B Doubles at the World Championships alongside partner Jon Spinks. The two could meet in the second round if they both win. Bennett takes on fellow Brit Ryan Bezer while Spinks faces France’s Sami Tabbara.

Finland’s Taavi Suorsa came third in this category 12 months ago. If he’s to reach the semi-finals again, he’ll first have to overcome No.3 seed, Samuel Barker. The other match in the third quarter sees Sweden’s Johan Rosenberg take on Great Britain’s Cameron Leighton.

The second seed in the competition is also the lone Swiss player Nicolas Champod. He’ll kick off his campaign with a tricky showdown against table tennis talent Johnny Bispham. The fourth British-French first-round clash will see Kieran Shelley take on Bastian Vaubert to round out the draw.

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

Women’s B Singles – Plenty of Opportunity in Eclectic Draw

One of the most diverse draws at the IWT La Santa Open is the Women’s B Singles. With 10 players competing from six different countries, there is plenty of opportunity for someone to collect a surprise title.

The 10 players competing for means that six receive a bye straight through to the quarter-finals while the other four battle to join them. Elif Wong and Kate Russell will meet in one of those matches in what is likely to be a fierce squash set. The other match sees Karen King take on Emilia Kostainen.

The winner of Wong and Russell will advance to take on Julia Schirutschke. As the World No.26, the German is the top seed and is hoping to reach her first podium since the 2020 Thailand Open Challenger.

The other quarter-final in the top half is already decided. Switzerland’s Amandine Souin will take on Finland’s Ronja Kosonen. Souin has already won one Women’s B Singles title this year after triumphing at the IWT French Open back in March. Kosonen meanwhile is making her singles debut.

The most experienced player in the draw is Esther Dübendorfer. The Swiss former Seniors World Champion opens in the quarter-finals against France’s Laureline Tschanz. There is another French player already in the quarter-finals in Aurélie Haurant. She’ll take on the winner of King against Kostainen.

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

Men’s B Doubles – Stacked Draw Features Mixture of Stars

This year’s Men’s B Doubles draw is one of the busiest of the year, with 21 pairs in contention for the title. Swiss duo Graham King and Mounir Benheddi are the top seeds while Britain’s Sam Barker and Jon Spinks are at the other end of the draw as the No.2 seeds.

Taavi Suorsa and Juho Vuorinen finished fourth in the Men’s A Singles last year but drop down to the B this year where they’re the No.3 seeds. Ross Wilson and Nick Rate are the No.4 seeds.

After finishing as the Men’s +55 Doubles runners-up at the World Championships, Giovanni Gentile and Manfred Grab are also in contention as the No.7 seeds. Lucas Steyer is the No.6 seed in an eye-catching pairing alongside America’s Patrick Moran.

No.10 in the Men’s Doubles World Rankings, Anthony Duthuillé is also in the draw alongside fellow Frenchman Aurélien Bellaton. Another French pair, Fabien Guidoux and Bastian Vaubert, are competing after having won the Men’s D/E Doubles at the World Championships.

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

Mixed B Doubles – Moran Back to Defend Title with New Partner

British duo Matilda Parslow and Johnny Bispham are the top seeds in a 16-pair Mixed B Doubles draw of great intrigue. Parslow and Bispham are one of three seeded British pairs. Mother-Son duo Jo Shelley and Kieran Shelley are the No.2 seeds after finishing with a bronze medal here 12 months ago.

Incredibly, the other British-seeded pair is also a mother-son pair in Joanna Bennett and David Bennett. The final seeded pair is Germany’s Julia Schirutschke and Andreas Baumung.

Patrick Moran is back to defend the title that he won last year with Störte Becker. This time, he’s teaming up with fellow American Stephanie Chung. In the final last year, Moran and Becker beat Kathrine Lysdahl and Jon Spinks. Incredibly, Moran and Spinks will this year meet in the first round, although this year, Spinks will also have a new partner in the form of fellow Green Teamer Filippa Thyberg.

The full Mixed B Doubles draw is available here.

Men’s C Singles – Sach & King Among Jam-Packed Draw

The biggest draw at the IWT La Santa Open is the Men’s C Singles, with 24 players battling for the title. Germany’s Volker Sach is the top seed in the draw and sits at the top of the bracket. With 24 players in the draw, the eight seeded players all receive a bye to the second round while the other 16 will fight to join them.

Joining Sach in the top quarter is Switzerland’s Bruno Scherrer. An interesting name in quarter two is Mounir Benheddi. The Swiss player finished as runner-up in this category last year to Noel Mathew. With the American not making the trip this year, could Benheddi go one better and claim the title? Anthony Levavasseur joins Benheddi as a seed in quarter two.

It’s a Seniors bonanza in the bottom half of the draw with Andreas Baumung, Ray Ryan, Riccardo Raimo and Graham King the four seeds. The bottom half of the draw is completely full of newcomers or returning players in the first round which makes it a fascinating draw.

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

Juniors U21 Singles – Can Steyer Stop the British Charge?

As with the Women’s B Singles category, there are 10 players set to battle for the Juniors U21 crown. Seven of those 10 players hail from Great Britain, with France’s Lucas Steyer and Noa Worobel, along with Czechia’s Michal Fojtík, the non-Brits.

Despite being the Juniors U21 Singles World Champion, Luke Griffiths is not competing in Lanzarote. This leaves Matthew Davidson as the top seed with Ross Wilson as the No.2 seed. David Bennett is the No.3 seed and opens against Britain’s Anant Gupta.

Davidson will take on either Fojtík or Ryan Bezer. There’s a big opportunity for relative newcomers Worobel and Jordan Marcus as they collide with a quarter-final contest against Ross Wilson the prize for the winner.

The final player is rising talent Holly Ranson, who takes on Juniors U16 Singles World Champion Lucas Steyer in a tough quarter-final showdown.

The full Juniors U21 Singles draw is available here.

Seniors +40 Singles – Swiss and French Players Dominate Draw

Eight players are in the draw for the Seniors +45 Singles and it’s Swiss and French players that make up the majority of the draw. There are three from each country, including Seniors World No.10 Graham King and No.11 Manfred Grab. The two outliers in the draw are South Africa’s Daniel Schoeman and Finland’s Juho Vuorinen.

The third Swiss player joining King and Grab is Giovanni Gentile. Grab and Gentile have had a special year so far, finishing as runners-up in the Seniors +55 Doubles at the World Championships. Vuorinen is a former Men’s +45 Doubles World Champion and will be a danger in the draw, while Schoeman is making his debut.

The three French players taking part are all relatively new players on the Racketlon World Tour. Patrick Ecuyer, Emeric Lardet and Samuel Worobel all open with tough matches against Gentile, Vuorinen and Grab respectively.

The full Seniors +40 Singles draw is available here.

Seniors +50 Singles – World Champion Clapp Among Draw

While the Seniors +45 Singles draw has 10 players, the Seniors +50 Singles boasts 12, leaving four players with a bye through to the quarter-finals. Volker Sach is the No.1 seed and is at the top of the bracket. The German is joined in the quarter-finals by fellow seeds Martyn Langston, Julian Clapp and Jon Foulds.

The eight players in the first round battling for a spot in the quarter-finals are from seven different nations. Great Britain’s Simon Lau will face Switzerland’s Marc-André Rauber with Sach awaiting the winner. The other Swiss player, Alexander Kobler, will take on Philippe Montembaut in a battle between two newcomers.

Elsewhere, Denmark’s Jesper Schou Nielsen faces France’s Régis Steyer while the Netherlands’ Mark De Bruin takes on Hungary’s Zoltán Albert.

The full Seniors +50 Singles draw is available here.

Senior Doubles – Group Stage Greatness to Decide Champions

The entire IWT La Santa Open is monrad draws apart from one; the Seniors Doubles. This five-pair draw will have two groups. One will have three pairs and the other two pairs with the two group champions meeting in the final.

Group A has the top seeds in Manfred Grab and Giovanni Gentile. Fresh from their World Championships final, they will be joined by Dutch pair Mark Van Der Heide and Maarten Roelofs and French pair Patrick Ecuyer and Régis Steyer.

Group B will be a straight shoot-out, with at least one Frenchman guaranteed to reach the final. That’s because Group B sees French pair Matthieur Beurel-Diamant and Emeric Lardet take on fellow Frenchman Philippe Montembaut and Brit Ray Ryan.

The full Seniors Doubles draw is available here.

The full preview for the Elite draws is available here.

Keep up with all the action from the IWT La Santa Open all weekend on FacebookInstagram and

Interested in competing on the Racketlon World Tour? The 2023 Racketlon World Tour is now live, with the Thailand Open ChallengerIWT RSL Finnish OpenIWT Nordic Racket Games and IWT Swiss Open all open for player entry.

Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer

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