The 2. FIR European Racketlon Championship presented by BABOLAT was kicked off today by the Doubles competitions. The Austrian local elite in the four-racket sport of Table Tennis, Badminton, Squash and Tennis were all present at the start: Christine Seehofer, Lukas Windischberger, Michi Dickert und viele mehr. But on the first day of the tournament all eyes were on the Amateurs’ competition, where Tennis star Jürgen Melzer was competing together with former Racketlon Doubles World Champion Christoph Krenn.
Melzer stopped in Semi-Final
Melzer was competing with a wildcard that was granted by sponsor Victor Austria. “We were joking around at the press conference that I could join the amateurs’ competition here. What started as a joke quickly turned serious, and so, here I am”, says the tennis star from Deutsch-Wagram. And it turned out to be a longer stopover at the City & Country Club Wienerberg for Melzer. At the kick-off game of the CITY & COUNTRY CLUB Men B/C – Amateur Doubles against Finnish Matti Impola/Tommi Laine, the Austrian duo lost the first three disciplines in front of an audience of numerous fans and media representatives: Table Tennis (18-21), Badminton (19-21) and Squash (18-21). But in their prime discipline Tennis, Krenn/Melzer hit back, winning 21-9 and gaining the victory. “Table Tennis I’ve always played right-handed, and in Tennis, I also take the racket sometimes into the right hand”, says Melzer, “but in both other disciplines I am blind on the right side.” It turned out that the Tennis pro had enough time to warm up, after all: The unseeded duo fought four matches on Wednesday, Melzer/Krenn won three of them. Only in the semi-final against Pieter De Bleeckere (BEL) and Marco Genzel (GER), their luck ran out with 21:15. The result: +20 (TT: 23-21, BA: 21-17, SQ: 21-12, TE: 7-2). “The level in Racketlon is high, also at the Amateurs’ competitions. It was a well-deserved victory for Marco and Pieter,” says ex-world champion Christoph Krenn. Jürgen Melzer’s conclusion: “It was a long day. I am tired and I can feel my back. I am really impressed by the Racketlon players, who are making incredible achievements here. For Racketlon, you need a high level of fitness – aside from the skill in the four disciplines.”
“Gummiarm” decisive in Austrian duel
For those visitors who managed til the end, the Austrian Men’s Elite delivered some real suspense at 9:30pm. In the HARING GROUP Mens’ A Elite Doubles, the top rated Lukas Windischberger/Michi Dickert met with Marcel Weigl/Georg Stoisser in the RFA duel. Weigl/Stoisser, who had easily won against Dan Busby/Duncan Stahl (GBR) in the Semi-Finals, were leading after the first two disciplines Table Tennis and Badminton by six points. Dickert/Windischberger, who had their strength in Squash, were not living up to expectations. Excellent pitcher Stoisser kept creating unsolvable tasks for Squash ace Windischberger, scored with soulful drops and knew how to make good use of his body in the glass court of the Centre-Court-Arena. In the end, Windischberger carried home a 23:21 victory. “The best Squash game of the European Championship so far”, said RFA Squash National coach Edi Stepanek after the duel. Four points lead remained for Weigl/Stoisser before the last discipline, Tennis.
Dickert/Windischberger played defensively, and trailed back quickly. At 16:17, the number one duo stood with their backs against the wall facing five match balls – but they kept their nerve. They parried everything. The gummiarm had to decide. Stoisser won the vote and received the pitch – he chose to serve and missed the shot. “I think we offered a lot for our audience today”, said Windischberger after the game. The finale with top seeded Kresten Hougaard/Morten Jaksland (DEN) will take place on Sunday. The Danes had the hardest trial in the quarter final: they defeated Kasper Jønsson (DEN) and Sebastian Hedlund (SWE) by seven points +7 (TT: 10-21, BA: 21-13, SQ: 18-21, TE: 21-8).
Clean slate for Seehofer
Also in the ÖTTV Mixed A – Elite Doubles, Windischberger is in the final, aside Christine Seehofer. Kasper Jønsson (DEN) and Amke Fischer (GER) will be awaiting him on Friday. Another entry into the final was achieved by Christine Seehofer: Together with German Natalie Paul, she is competing for Gold in the ENGEL Women A Elite Doubles.
All five teams in the Round Robin grid still have a shot at medals; currently, Nicole Eisler (SUI) and Zuzana Severinova (CZE) are ranking second, followed by Anna-Klara Ahlmer (SWE) and Hannah Boden (GBR).
Double Gold for Austria
Already on the first day of tournament, two competitions had ended: In the COURTWALL Women B – Amateur Doubles, Elisabeth Seehofer/Julia Pabisch won. Silver went to the Swiss Esther Dübendorfer/Adeline Kilchenmann, Bronze to Nicole Kamphues (GER)/Terhi Virtanen (FIN). In the HBVERSE Mens D/E – Beginners Doubles, Christoph Gastinger and Philipp Schneider (AUT) won their final +4 (TT: 18-21, BA: 29-27, SQ: 20-22, TE: 21-14) over Dennis Fuhrmann/Tobias Hausen (GER). Bronze went to Daniel Ryan/Ray Ryan (GBR).
On Thursday, the National Team Competitions of the 2. FIR European Racketlon Championships presented by BABOLAT are taking place, starting at 9am at the City and Country Club on Wienerberg hill. Day passes can be purchased there for EUR 4,-. All visitors participate in a raffle featuring a Renault Grand Scenic as first prize!