Ostrava, Czech Republic, June 23, 2018 – Pablo Herrera Allepuz and Adrian Gavira Collado of Spain will play against Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov of Russia in one of the men’s semifinals at the Ostrava four-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Czech home heroes Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner and Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak will meet in the other.
Karla Borger and Margareta Kozuch of Germany vs. Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson of Canada and Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider, also of Germany, vs. home favourites Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova are the fixtures that will determine the line-up for the women’s final on Sunday.
All eight games on Sunday, the semifinals and the medal matches, will be streamed live on the FIVB YouTube channel
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Herrera and Gavira were the first team to qualify for the semis and they did so in a dramatic fashion – in three sets, each of which got extended into overtime – 2-1 (20-22, 22-20, 20-18) against third-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands. In the nail-biting tie-breaker, the Spaniards missed the first two match points and then denied the next three for the Dutchmen, eventually keeping their cool to persevere for the win.
Earlier on Saturday, Herrera and Gavira knocked another powerhouse out of the way in three sets, also coming back from a set down to defeat fourth-seeded Italians Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 15-11).
“We are really, really happy! It was a big day… We won against Nicolai and Lupo in the second round and now, in the quarterfinal, we beat Brouwer and Meeuwsen, one of the best teams this year. Great moment!” an elated Adrian Gavira exclaimed.
Despite the cold and wet weather, the home fans packed the centre court tribunes for the matches of the Czech teams and did not have to leave disappointed. To their utmost delight, Perusic and Schweiner also mastered two big wins to find their well-deserved spot among the best four. They came from behind to claim a 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-12) victory over Russia’s Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko and then they delivered a major upset of second-seeded Brazilians Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior and Vitor Goncalves Felipe with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-15) shutout.
Coming into the main draw from Wednesday’s qualifications and still unbeaten in the tournament, Semenov and Leshukov made it to the semifinals with two straight-set victories over Polish opponents, both by the exact same score - 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) against Mariusz Prudel and Jakub Szalankiewicz and against Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl.
Fifth-seeded Poles Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak became the highest-ranked pair to survive until the last day. They managed a 2-0 (27-25, 21-15) victory over Brazil’s Pedro Solberg and Bruno Oscar Schmidt in the second round and a 2-0 (21-19, 21-13) win over Germany’s Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler.
Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova celebrate their win in the quarterfinals
Inspired by the full-hearted support of the home fans, top-seeded Hermannova and Slukova pleased them with an emphatic 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) quarterfinal win over the highest-ranked team in the women’s competition – Germany’s Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude. Before that, the Czech duo hammered out a 2-0 (21-18, 21-19) victory over Poland’s Kinga Kolosinska and Katarzyna Kociolek.
Germany’s Borger and Kozuch advanced to the semis with a huge win over third-seeded Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Carolina Solberg Salgado – 2-0 (21-14, 21-19). Earlier they managed a 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) shutout of Switzerland’s Nina Betschart and Tanja Hueberli.
“We played several times against this Brazilian team and we lost, so we were really hot today to play and to win. We were super focussed and we knew that in the second set Brazil would do something so we had to stay patient and we are happy we did it to finish the game,” Margareta Kozuch commented after the match with Maria Antonelli and Carol.
“It feels great! Also because this is a new tournament on the Tour, everything is new and the location is so different to all the other places, so it’s really special,” Karla Borger added.
One more German team progressed to the semifinals after defeating a strong Brazilian pair. Bieneck and Schneider came back from a set down against fourth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa - Duda to claim a 2-1 (15-21, 21-16, 15-13) victory. In the previous round, they knocked out Netherlands’ Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink 2-0 (21-18, 21-18).
Canada’s Bansley and Wilkerson had a quarterfinal encounter with a Dutch team, Joy Stubbe and Marleen Ramond-van Iersel, and also managed a comeback win – 2-1 (15-21, 21-11, 15-12) – to reach the semis. In the morning they won a 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) straight-setter against Swiss standouts Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre.