Ostrava, Czech Republic, June 24, 2018 – 35-year-old four-time Olympian Pablo Herrera and his 30-year-old partner, two-time Olympian Adrian Gavira continued winning the big sets at the Ostrava four-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour all the way to the top of the podium. It was the third gold and 17th medal overall on the World Tour for the well-seasoned Spanish pair.
Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland took the silver. For the 26-year-old Poles, three-time title-holders from age-group World Championships, this was the 12th medal on the Tour.
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Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov, who started their Ostrava quest from Wednesday’s qualifications, found their way to the podium, winning the bronze. For the recently-formed Russian duo this was the second World Tour medal after the Mersin gold from earlier this season.
The men’s podium at Ostrava
Having already won a few extended sets at the tournament, Herrera and Gavira emerged from a nail-biting first set in the final with a 27-25 win. Kantor and Losiak reacted swiftly and gained control of the second set to level the score. A few monster blocks by the Spaniards in the deciding set made the difference and they rejoiced with a 2-1 (27-25, 15-21, 15-11) victory.
“It was a great tournament for us! We played really well and we are really happy. We want to enjoy the moment and enjoy this gold medal,” an elated Gavira said after the awarding ceremony.
“We started the tournament badly. We lost against Canada. We were almost out, but in the end we won the gold medal!” Herrera added.
Despite the rainy conditions, the spectators had the centre court tribunes completely packed for the bronze medal match and inspired home favourites Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner to a complete domination of the first set. Semenov and Leshukov reversed the momentum in the second set to draw level. In a long and spectacular tie-breaker, both teams had numerous opportunities to close the match in their favour, but eventually it was the Russians who persevered for the win – 2-1 (14-21, 21-18, 26-24).
“It was an amazing third set of a very difficult match against a very good team. Everybody cheering for the Czech Republic was clapping all the time and I could not hear what my partner was saying to me during the match. In the end we won and we are very happy. This was a fantastic tournament. We played very well the entire time. We lost only one match, the semifinal again Spain. They were lucky, just like we were lucky in the bronze medal match,” Semenov commented.
Indeed, Herrera and Gavira pulled off another one of their epic set wins in their semifinal against the Russians to qualify for the final with a 2-0 (21-19, 28-26) victory.
In the other men’s semifinal, Kantor and Losiak disappointed the home fans in Ostrava by putting an end to Perusic and Schweiner’s victorious run. The Poles dominated on the court to master a 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) win.