Austrian youngsters lead way into Mersin semis

Mersin, Turkey, May 5, 2018 – Katharina Schutzenhofer and Lena Plesiutschnig remain on course for their best FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour finish when they reached the Mersin 3-Star semifinals on Saturday. 

The Austrian pair needed to be at their best over three sets to defeat the Netherlands’ Julien Sinnema and Laura Bloem 2-1 (23-21, 18-21, 15-13), and had to hold their focus in windy conditions on Turkey’s southern coastline.  

“The Netherlands played very well and it was very hard playing in the strong wind,” Schutzenhofer said. “We tried to handle it and play a little bit closer and shorter and in the end we kept our nerves and kept believing and that made the difference. 

“We knew that we had to have a good result to collect points for future tournaments, but the most important thing was to play our game and do on the court the things we do in practice and it is getting better and better.”

Schutzenhofer and Plesiutschnig will take on Slovakia’s Andrea Strbova and Natalia Dubovcova, while Brazil’s Josemari Alves and Liliane Maestrini face the Netherlands’ Madelein Meppelink and Sanne Keizer in the semifinals on Sunday.

The two 24-year-olds have played together since 2010 and won bronze at the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships. They have slowly built their form on the World Tour and are beginning to make an impression on the later stages of tournaments. 

“We know each other really well and have played together for six years, with two years apart in between,” Plesiutschnig said. “We are so happy. We won the bronze medal in Sydney and that was our best result on the World Tour, but now we are in a semifinal of a 3-Star and so excited to play tomorrow.”

Cuba’s Diaz Nivaldo and Sergio Gonzalez are the highest ranked team remaining in the men’s side of the draw. 

First off the third seeds beat first seeds Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan from Qatar to reach the quarterfinals and they followed up by beating Belarus’ Aliaksandr Kavalenka and Aliaksandr Dziadkou 2-0 (21-17, 21-15). 

“It was a hard match, especially at the beginning and they started very well,” Nivaldo said. “We stuck to our system and played our game all the time. 

“Halfway through the sets they began to make mistakes and errors and we took those opportunities and made sure we stayed in the game with our side and that was the reason for our victory.”

Nivaldo and Gonzalez will now face the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner. In the other semifinal Russia’s Ilya Leshukov and Konstantin Semenov will take on Switzerland’s Mirco Gerson and Adrian Heidrich.  

For all the news and scores from the Mersin 3-Star click here.


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