Montpellier, France, August 30, 2018 - The pool stage of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 1-Star event in Montpellier was completed on Thursday, determining the teams moving into the knockout stage of the competition, with the pool winners progressing straight to the quarterfinals. To continue with the trend set on Wednesday, Swiss women and French men were the dominant forces of the day with three pool wins apiece. Montpellier - Women
Home stars Alexandra Jupiter/Lezana Placette topped Pool A after beating Kim Huber and Tatjana Greber of Switzerland. The French ladies move on to the quarterfinals while the Swiss team and Greece’s Dimitra Manavi/Konstantina Tsopoulou advanced to the Round of 12 as well after edging American twin sisters Audrey and Nicole Nourse 2-0 (21-12, 21-14).
The Swiss team of Laura Caluori/Dunja Gerson claimed the top spot in Pool B after winning against Norwegian tandem Emilie Olimstad/Frida Berntsen 2-0 (21-14, 21-6). The Swiss proceed straight to the quarterfinals while home side Marie Nevot/Pia Szewczyk leave the tournament after their loss to Julia Wouters/Pleun Ypma of the Netherlands.
Another Swiss team, Nicole Eiholzer/Elena Steinemann secured the top position in Pool C after a relatively hard-fought victory over Satono Ishitsubo/Asami Shiba of Japan 2-0 (21-14, 21-17). Laura Longuet/Ophelie Lusson of France remain in the competition following their victory over Sweden’s Felicia Granberg/Johanna Wikberg. “After a difficult start, we feel that our game is getting better now and it’s a great thing for the next matches,” Longuet and Lusson commented.
In Pool D, after suffering a loss on Wednesday, experienced pair Anniemieke Driessen/Ilke Meertens (NED) claimed a victory over Canada’s Rian Lenarduzzi/Anna Dunn-Suen. The Canadians, lucky losers from the qualification, leave the competition. “We were very disappointed with yesterday’s loss, and we couldn’t go home today,” Meertens said. Esmée Bobner/Zoe Verge-Depre made it three pool wins for Switzerland as they won the clash for the top spot with France’s Clemence Vieira and Mia Guyot Polverini. Montpellier - Men
In one of the longest matches of the day, Japanese team Yu Koshikawa/Hiroki Dylan Kurokawa claimed a tiebreak victory over the Czech Republic’s Martin Sramek/Dominik Samec, thus avoiding elimination from the competition. Home favourites Maxime Thiercy/Arnaud Gauthier-Rat delighted the home crowd to clinch the top spot in their pool after a 2-0 victory over Javier and Joaquin Bello of England.
Maxime Thiercy (FRA) spikes as partner Arnaud Gauthier-Rat looks on in a match where the home favourites claimed first place in their pool.
Jamaine Naidoo/Leo Williams of South Africa did not drive from Prague to Montpellier for nothing, as they stay alive in the competition following their victory over Marius Malinauskas/Artur Vasiljev of Lithuania. Williams has returned to Montpellier six years after a previous visit and with his partner, he celebrated after the victory over their opponents from the Baltics. In a match that featured two players standing at 210 cm, home stars Youssef Krou and Quincy Ayé claimed a 2-0 victory over Chris Gregory and Issa Batrane of England, despite Gregory cancelling three match balls with three straight blocks.
In Pool C, Mees Blom/Yorick de Groot of the Netherlands beat Mark Garcia-Kidd/Freddie Bialokoz of England to finish third and remain in the competition. After a very close battle, Sweden’s Jakob Molin/Linus Tholse moved straight to the quarterfinals by edging home stars Romain Di Giantommaso and Jérémy Silvestre 2-1 (15-21, 24-22, 18-16).
Adrian Caravano/Arnaud Loiseau had lost their first match on Wednesday and even though they put up a fight and killed some stunning attacks, they lost to Ruben Penninga/Tom van Steenis (NED) to finish fourth and last in Pool D.
Edouard Rowlandson/Olivier Barthelemy, on the other hand, claimed the top spot of the pool after dropping the second set of their matchup with Florian Breer and Yves Haussener of Switzerland. Barthelemy’s stunning blocks and the fighting spirit of Rowlandson, who is contesting his first international tournament in two years, combined for a 15-13 tiebreak victory. As a result, the Frenchmen progressed straight to the quarterfinals.