Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 30, 2018 – Bottom-seeded Slovenian wild cards Vid Jakopin and Jure Peter Bedrac delivered the first major sensation as the men’s main draw competition at the Ljubljana winter edition one-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour got underway at the Ludus Sports Park on Friday.
In a dramatic Pool A match, Jakopin and Bedrac came back from a set down against top-seeded Aliaksandr Dziadkou and Pavel Piatrushka of Belarus to earn a 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 15-11) victory and book one of the first eight spots in the elimination rounds.
“We don't want to focus on some specific technical element or even tactics,” Vid Jakopin commented. “We just want to be constant in our game, make as few mistakes as possible, and try to win more matches. I am satisfied with today's performance. The Belarusians attacked really strong, but our blocking was what decided the match.”
Eight men’s matches were played across the four pools on Friday, with the winners securing their advancement to the last 12 of the tournament. The losers will get another chance to progress on Saturday, while the winners within each pool will play each other for a direct ticket to the quarterfinals.
In Pool A, the Slovenians will meet Paul Burnett and Maximilian Guehrer. The Australians managed a 2-0 (21-15, 24-22) win over Dutchmen Mees Blom and Ruben Penninga.
“We came to Ljubljana a few days before the tournament to train indoors as we don't have any indoor facilities at home. It took 28 and a half hours to get here, but we are basically taking advantage of every option we get to adjust to playing indoors,” Guehrer explained.
Home favourites Danijel Pokersnik and Gasper Plahutnik also pleased the fans with a win. In their opening Pool D match, the fourth-seeded Slovenians claimed a narrow 2-0 (21-19, 23-21) victory over Russia’s Daniil Kuvichka and Anton Kislytsyn and will face Germany’s Robin Sowa and Eric Stadie for the first place in the pool on Saturday.
Poland’s Kacper Kujawiak and Mateusz Paszkowski and Latvia’s Matiss Gabdullins and Mihails Samoilovs will lock horns for the top of Pool B after both pairs achieved dramatic tie-breaker wins in their games on Friday, over Slovenia’s Matevz Berk and Iztok Novak and Kazakhstan’s Alexey Kuleshov and Artem Petrossyants, respectively.
Pool C featured two straight-set matches. Turkey’s Selcuk Sekerci and Safa Urlu defeated Slovenia’s Aleksander Dulai and Manuel Grunvald, while Czechia’s Jindrich Weiss and Martin Tichy shut out Norway’s Jorn Olav Gamlemoen and Christian Helland.