Austria, Norway, Poland and Russia in the semis at Men’s #EuroBeachVolley
Moscow, Russia, August 10, 2019. The best eight teams at the Men’s #EuroBeachVolley locked horns, trying to reach the semifinals of the Europe’s elite competition. The Polish Kantor/Losiak and the Norwegians Mol/Sørum became the first semifinalists after outclassing Brower/Meeuwsen (NED) and Thole, J./Wickler (GER) in their quarterfinal matches respectively and will enter the court on Sunday, fighting for a spot at the Gold medal match. Later on Saturday the Austrian sensation Ermacora/Pristauz kept the positive spirit and seized a victory vs. Perusic/Schweiner (CZE). To delight of home crowds, the only remaining in the competition Russian team - Semenov/Leshukov, outclassed the Italians Nicolai/Lupo and keep the hosts’ hopes for a medal alive. The Russian players will have to face first Ermacora and Pristauz at a semifinal match.
Brouwer/Meeuwsen (NED) vs. Kantor/Losiak (POL) 1-2 (21-18, 17-21, 11-15)
Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, who during this season have been showing a rather up-and-down game, entered better in the first set, showing a more stable game than their opponents. The Polish duo, however, could adapt and find a little bit more their rhythm in the second one and tied the game. It was a close game in the second set, but the play was stopped with the result being 17-16 for Kantor/Losiak due to a palm hand injury of Kantor. However, he was able to continue and the Poles even took the set.
Bartosz Losiak after the match: “It is really great and nice for us that we are for the first time in the semis of #EuroBeachVolley, and especially this season, because we aren’t playing that good. This means that step by step we can be improving and play better. I hope that we can bring some medal at home. It is good that the Polish girls also move ahead and play for the Gold. We will try to do the same, although it will be hard.”
Mol /Sørum (NOR) vs. Thole/Wickler (GER) 2-1 (21-17, 21-15)
The second quarterfinal match on Saturday was the much anticipated clash between the reigning #EuroBeachVolley champions Anders Mol/Christian Sørum and Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler, who on the other hand are the silver medallists from the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. The Norwegian duo took a comfortable lead since the very beginning of the first set, being more precise in the small details of the game and making it difficult for their opponents with excellent game on the serve. In the second set Thole and Wickler tried to breathe down the necks’ of their opponents until the 14th point, but the Norwegian top team would not lose the overall control. Both Mol and Wickler scored one ace each at the end of the second set, but the Norwegians were better at the net and closed the set and match in their favour.
Christian Sørum after the match: “I think Anders had really good spike serves today, he has been serving float serve for most of the tournament, but today he made the difference.”
“We really wanted the revenge for the World Championship semifinal. We knew we had to bring our best game, we had to serve good, because if these guys can pass and receive like they always do, then they are really hard to beat. Today we put a lot of pressure on the serve and it worked.”
Perusic/Schweiner (CZE) vs. Ermacora/Pristauz (AUT) 0-2 (21-23, 18-21)
The Austrian sensation Martin Ermacora and Moritz Pristauz continue with their outstanding performance at #EuroBeachVolley and qualified for the first time in their careers for a semifinal of the competition. On Saturday, both players showed a real team spirit and outlassed the Czech duo Onrej Preusic/David Schweiner, after on Friday having eliminated the reigning FIVB World Champions - the Russians Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Oleg Stoyanovskiy. In the quarterfinal match vs the Czech players, the Austrians showed confident behaviour, with excellent play in attack-defense being the key element for their victory.
Ermacora and Pristauz were in a great mood after the win and talked to media: “It is hard to realise, we just made it to the semis of the European Championship, we were seeded 23th here in Moscow. This is kind of a fairytale for us. We played against the Czech – before the season and here in the pools; we lost two times. So, when we saw the draw, we though that during the first game against them here we weren’t focused enough”, both players agreed.
“We knew that we can beat them if we take our chances and I think we did so”, Martin Ermacora stated. “We needed a comfortable leading, because in the end it was always tied score. Our coach gives us great tactics. We hope to bring home a medal, to enjoy the games tomorrow and to confirm that we are the new generation of Austrian Beach Volleyball. Here at #EuroBeachVolley we raised our level”, Ermacora added.
Semenov/Leshukov (RUS) vs Nicolai/Lupo (ITA) 2-0 (21-17, 22-20)
The only remaining Russian team in the competition – Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov became the last team to proceed to the semifinals of #EuroBeachVolley. Many Russian fans came to the venue at Luzhniki complex, and not scared by the cold weather, created an amazing atmosphere. As to make things even better, the sun showed and everybody enjoyed a great match. Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov were determined to fight for each ball and with a comfortable lead during the first set, emerged victorious out of it. In the second one Nicolai and Lupo started off better, but it was by the time of the 14th point when the Russians tied the score and even took the lead at 17-16. Inspired Semenov and Leshukov were doing miracles on the court in the end of the set, but Nicola and Lupo weren’t giving up easily. In these intense moments, the Russian team showed better nerves and closed 2-0.
The winners expressed their happiness after the victory.
“Everything went well. I am very happy and I would like to thank to the fans for the support, they helped us a lot today. They motivated us, we played with a no minute of relax for them – they were our third player on the court!”
Konstantin Semenov: “We were better in the first set. The Italians kept on pushing us, but we managed to score break points and our opponents made unforced errors. The team is very strong. I met them earlier when I was in a team with Krasilnikov. We were often losing to them, so now it was especially nice to take revenge for all the previous failures. In the second set the side-out went wrong, but in the second half of the set we were able to get back on our feet.”
Paolo Nicolai confirmed after the match that it was a difficult one: “We made too many errors during the sets. They have a great motivation, being at home also help. In the end, they were a little bit better than us and could win. We have fought for every ball, for every point, but today it wasn’t enough. We will try again the next week. Moscow is a beautiful city and now we will have time to walk around a little bit and do some sightseeing. We are looking forward!”