A Title A Day? No One Can Keep Ahlmer At Bay!

The doubles concluded and the singles kicked off on moving day at the IWT Polish Open, as titles were secured in the Mixed Elite Doubles, Men’s Elite Doubles, and Mixed B Doubles.  There were also high expectations and home hopes in the Men’s Elite amongst other draws.  For all the catch up on Day 2, here is James Pope with the Day 2 Report. 

Tops Seeds Felled in Enthralling Men’s Final. 

Danish top seeds Kresten Hougaard and Malte Thyregod faced German pairing Korbinian Heim & Joerg Kanonenberg in the Men’s Elite Doubles final.  The Danes edged into the lead thanks to a 21-17 TT win and a 21-16 badminton win, a slender lead of 9 points into the Squash.  The Germans eviscerated that lead, 21-14 in the squash meaning that with that 2 point lead for the Danes, it was basically a game of tennis. It was a very good game of tennis, but it was a very German game of tennis, Joerg & Korbinian sealing a 21-13 win to secure the title.  

Malte had a different experience in the Mixed Elite Doubles final. Partnering Sweden’s Anna-Klara Ahlmer, he once again entered the final as top seed, but this time it was much easier leading from the front against the Dutch/Polish pairing Kirsten Kapteil & Greg Lorkiewicz.  After edging a tight TT, Malte & Anna-Klara dominated the badminton and sealed victory edging an enthralling squash set.  Anna-Klara again seeing off Kirsten in a doubles final, and making it a second title in as many days for the Swede, as she refused to go Dutch….

There was more Scandinavian joy in the Mixed B Doubles, as Norwegian pairing and top seeds Victoria Mai & Ola Ulmo romped to the title in their final over French/Polish pairing Phanouvong & Gul.  Historically a Polish-French pairing have dominated the field, but it was not a Marie & Pierre dominance on this occasion, the Norwegians didn’t lose a sport getting to the final and didn’t lose a sport in the final, their tennis rackets left to gather dust.  

A Draw of Two Halves

With the doubles done and dusted, all eyes turned to the Men’s Elite Singles and the mouth-watering tie between Rykowski & Hageraats, would it be a shock? In the end it was the bottom half of the draw that had all the drama. Fresh from his doubles win, Joerg Kanonenberg saw off the challenge of Sweden’s second seed, Rene Lindberg, just 3 points between them, Joerg winning the tennis 21-16 to secure the win. He then continued through to the semi-finals as he saw off the Czech hopeful Jan Port, dominating the tennis to seal that win.  He would face a second Czech in that semi-final, Martin Sopko coming past compatriot Michal Horzcek in his opener and then Poland’s Michal Kurek in a dominant quarter-final, won before the tennis, the badminton set breaking the match wide open for the Czech.  

The top half of the draw was a more mundane affair. Top seed Hageraats saw off the 2017 European Champion and then faced off against his main rival for the title of “best TT player on tour”.  Koen lost that set of table tennis, but still just needed just a point of tennis to defeat Swede Jesper Hedlund. He would line up against third seed Kresten Hougaard in the semi-final, who himself faced a Pole in round 1, making light work of Greg Lorkiewicz.  His quarter-final was a battle of the Danes, with Kresten facing his Men’s Doubles partner Thyregod.  The pair exchanged the opening sports, but it was Kresten’s squash that gave him the edge over his compatriot and left him needing just 4 points on the tennis court. 

Both semi-finals were scheduled to coincide with kolacja (“dinner”), and as the fans enjoyed a piwo albo dwa (“a beer or two”). The crowd would have barely said koniec (“finished”) to their plate of Pierogi (very tasty Polish dumplings) when Koen had marched into the final.  He demolished his Danish opponent, Kresten just not able to touch the Dutchman in either of the first three sports.  The second semi-final was a far more cagey affair, and the crowd would have able to enjoy their Bigos (“Hunters Stew” – a meat and soured cabbage mix, which is glorious) as Czech Martin and German Joerg battered away at each other. The Czech took the TT, 21-13, but the German hit back, badminton was his, 21-9, and four precious points in the lead. Martin wasn’t finished, squash was his 21-16 and a solitary point lead into what was to be a game of tennis.  As the crowd tucked into their Sernik (Polish cheese cake), they got the dessert of this match. Joerg took the match by the scruff of the neck, the big German launching his way into the final, 21-6, a dominant end to a very engaging tussle. 

In the Women’s Elite Singles it was a four woman round robin event and the brace of rounds left us with an all to play for final tomorrow. Ahlmer along with Czechia’s Lucie Hlavacova dominated the day seeing off the challenge of Dutch pair Fabienne Dony and second seed Kirsten Kaptein.  Therefore on Sunday, Anna-Klara and Lucie will fight for the title, and the Dutch pair will determine who comes home with bronze.  

Both finals will be streamed on Facebook today at 10:20 and 13:00 CET (GMT +1). 

Poland, Switzerland and Czech Republic Dominating in the Juniors & Seniors!

Looking around the rest of the draws and it was an all Czech final in the Girls U16s Singles, the final being won by Annemarie Del Favero over Melanie Tomkova, with Ewa Kozlowska the best of the Poles finishing third in the 7 girl event. In the Boys U16s Singles, top seeded Swiss Andreas Kotala dominated the event, not requiring his tennis racket as he breezed his way to the title, defeating Poland’s Borys Wasilewski in the final.  Another Czech junior, Damian Roman finishing third.  There was a Polish winner in the Boys U13s Singles, Jakob Sumislawski the top seed and runaway winner in the event. 

In the Vets, Norway’s Ola Ulmo caused an upset in the Men’s O40s Singles, defeating top seeded World Number 6 Manfred Grab in the first quarter-finals.  The other semi-finalists are the seeded players, with Ola facing Poland’s third seed Greg Lorkiewicz, and in the bottom of the draw second seeded Czech Martin Sopko faces French third seed Bertrand Carlier.  Those take place at 9am on Sunday morning, so hopefully they went easy on the piwo! It will be a Polish lockout in the Men’s O45s Singles, after the completion of the box leagues on Saturday, there will be a Sunday morning final between Martin Lorkiewicz and Piotr Ostaszyk. In the Men’s O50s Singles the semi-finalists are three Poles and a Czech, top seed Jan Port, where he faces Tiger Sowa, while in the bottom of the draw Norbert Stolicki faces Daniel Lipowski.  Finally, the Men’s O55s Singles was a battle of the Swiss, with top seed Manfred Grab defeating second seeded compatriot and doubles partner Graham King to take the title, Istvan Sagi from Hungary in third. 

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