CHA RSL Finnish Open review – Simon Speaks Racketlon

In some ways the scoring system of many racket sports like tennis are illogical as its possible to lose a match even though you win more points than your opponent. This is because points amount to games and games to sets and its only the set score that determines the absolute winner.

So I would agree with you if you said Racketlon was the purest form of racket sports. Because in Racketlon the winner is the player that wins the most points.  Simple! In Racketlon players compete to 21 in Table Tennis, Badminton, Squash and Tennis and the winner of the match is the player with the most points.  A typical match score could be 21-11; 11-21; 17-21; 21-16.  In this match Player A has a 10 point lead after Table Tennis.  However after Badminton the players are tied.  After squash Player B has accumulated 4 more points than Player A so to win the match Player A must score  17 to tie or more than 17 to win in the final sport of tennis.   By scoring 21 Player A wins by a small margin of 3 points with the overall point score 70-67.

The quick thinkers will see that its mathematically possible to win 3 of the 4 sports but a heavy loss in one of the 4 sports could result in an overall loss.  This need to accumulate points in all of the sports throughout a match is a huge reason why I love Racketlon.  You will often see me celebrating a pitiful haul of 6 points in TT !  Its because in a lot of my matches getting 6 points in TT rather than 3 points in TT will be significant for me later on in the match.

Unfortunately I couldn’t make the Finnish Racketlon this year, but as a Racketlon veteran, I followed the results on tournament software regularly and enthusiastically.  I counted that over the weekend 84 matches were played.  And in 3 of these matches this special case where someone wins 3 of the sports but loses overall happened.  That to me shows great effort by both the winning and losing players – everyone giving their all.  In the Women’s A it was Ranson and Antilla that battled to within 1 point, Anttila winning 76-75.  In the Mens O50 despite losing in Badminton,Squash and Tennis, Chelly overcame Alarukka thanks to a 21-9 win in Table Tennis.  And in the Mens C Kilpelainen managed good scoring losses of 19-21 in both Table Tennis and Squash to beat Vuorinen, who had a heavy defeat in badminton.  The points difference at the end of this last match was 13 which is unusually high for the kind of match which is won following a win in only 1 of the 4 sports.

Appreciating good battles, I also looked through the results for tight matches.  If a match ends with less than 5 points difference, I would describe it as a well fought close affair.  In fact 20% of all matches played ended this way – great battles !

At the other end of the spectrum, 26% of all matches ended after the first 3 sports with no need on a deciding tennis set.  This means the remaining matches, a 54% majority  were close enough to need Tennis to decide the overall victorious Racket Player.

As well as enjoying a close battle, always of interest are the long drawn out contests.  The 2 longest matches on the Saturday were, in Women’s A Ranson and Antilla where 151 points were played with Anttila winning by just 1 point.  And in the Men’s A with Nico Lenggenhager v Noah Mamie where 150 points were played with Nico winning by 2 points.
The longest match on Finals Day was a massive 167 points. This was an exciting Swiss family affair in Mens A with Noah Mamié taking on Léon Mamié with Léon taking it by 1 point.

The shortest match was over after 69 points with Raiski overcoming Fromlet in 3 sports in the Mens O60.  The shortest match on Sunday lasted 82 points and was between Finland’s Emilia Kostiainen V GBR’s Holly Ranson with Ranson taking 5th place in Womens A.

The average points scored was 112 which happened to be the result in Anttila v Halme in Mens C

On the Saturday, the biggest comeback at the halfway stage is awarded to the eventual tournament winner, Rene Lindberg.  In the Mens A quarter final, Lindberg went down to Leon Mamie by 2 points after TT which increased to down by 11 after Badminton.  Lindberg fought back winning squash 21-9 changing the score to +1 in Lindbergs favour.  The Mens tournament winner then delivered a strong tennis performance winning
21-7 to claim the match by +15.

On Finals Sunday Rene Lindberg also claimed the biggest turnaround at the halfway stage.  This was against Jesper Hedlund in the Mens A semi final.  Lindberg’s effort in the last 2 sports added 29 points to his half time total.

This short statistical view of a Racketlon tournament gives an introduction to how important each and every point is, and how it differs from playing the individual racket sports.  I believe Racketlon is its own discipline and not just 4 sports combined. Its part of the reason why I love Racketlon.  This critical need to score points has been a massive factor in my sporting improvements over the last 8 years.  If you look at the population as a whole, then most people will be declining as they approach their 60s, less strength, less fitness, less energy, etc.  I’m fortunate to have discovered Racketlon because now despite the aging process my TT is improving, my Tennis is improving.  Even my core sports of badminton and squash, which were declining, have improved due to the mental shifts necessary to compete at Racketlon.

Every point counts!

Simon Lau

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