Vienna, Austria, August 2, 2018 - Due to a heavy afternoon rain storm that delayed FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour action for almost two hours, only four of the eight men’s pools at the A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch were decided here on Thursday afternoon, with the other four groups to be decided on Friday morning.
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The biggest highlight on Thursday was a pair of seed breakthrough wins for Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs as the 17th-seeded Latvians posted victories over 16th-seeded Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner of the Czech Republic and top-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena of the United States.
After posting a 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 17-15) win in 50 minutes over the Czech Republic pair, Plavins and Tocs defeated Dalhausser and Lucena 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) in 44 minutes. With the Pool A match being stopped at 9-8 with the Latvians leading, the action was halted for 108 minutes due to the rain before play resumed.
“We had a good control of the game,” said Tocs after the Latvians defeated Dalhausser and Lucena for the second time this season. “We didn’t make many mistakes and overall we played well. We lost our focus a little bit in the second set and they were a little more aggressive on serving, but we got back together and managed to win. I like this kind of games against higher-seeded teams as we play with less responsibility."
With the win, Plavins and Tocs earned a first-round bye for the elimination rounds and will return to action on Saturday along with other Thursday group winners fifth-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands (Pool E), 13th-seeded qualifiers Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb of the United States (Pool D) and 18th-seeded Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin of Russia (Pool B and pictured below).
One of the final matches on Thursday pitted two teams that played for medals at the last Beach Major Series event in Gstaad where Spaniards Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira placed second and Crabb and Gibb finished fourth.
On Thursday, the Americans defeated the fourth-seeded Herrera and Gavira 2-1 (27-29, 21-18, 15-11) in 62 minutes for Crabb and Gibb's second FIVB World Tour win over the Spaniards in as many FIVB World Tour meetings. Both matches have been in three sets with the first Crabb/Gibb win being at March's Fort Lauderdale Major in the United States.
Diving for the Mikasa is 42-year old Jake Gibb (right) with American partner Taylor Crabb following the action.
Due to postponement of the final eight men’s matches on Thursday, Friday’s schedule with start with the completion of the contests in Pools C, F, G and H following with round 2 of women’s elimination. Also scheduled for Friday is the first-round of elimination for the men along with the women’s quarterfinals.
While the men conclude competition on Sunday with the final four matches, the women’s semifinal and medal matches will be played on Saturday in the third Beach Major Series event on the 2017-2018 FIVB World Tour calendar. The gold medal winners on Saturday and Sunday will each share the $40,000 first-place prizes.