Russia through to semis as Ukraine fail to repeat sensation
2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup - Final
Stavanger, Norway, June 24, 2016. On a wet Friday morning – the organisers were told that as there was going to be 30 mm of rain over 24 hours – Russia secured their progression to the semis of the 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final after producing two tie-break wins over teams from Ukraine. Mykola Babich and Iaroslav Gordieiev were not able to replicate their sensational performance from Thursday night where they shattered the Olympic dream of Germany’s Kay Matysik and Jonathan Erdmann, by far the most decorated team competing in Norway’s Beach Volleyball capital. Spain and Switzerland claimed one victory each on Friday morning to shape up a ‘Golden Match’ to be contested later in the day (5pm local time) that will determine another semi-finalist.
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On Thursday Russian and Ukrainian teams had caused two major sensations on the opening day of the men’s Continental Cup Final in Stavanger. Dmitry Barsouk/Nikita Liamin had ended France’s Olympic dreams by means of their victory over Youssef Krou/Edouard Rowlandson whilst Ukraine’s Mykola Babich/Iaroslav Gordieiev had sensationally beaten Germany’s Beach Volleyball stars Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik.
Barsouk and Babich – the most experienced men of the quartet – had taken dinner together on Thursday night and did not seem too bothered at all by the perspective of standing on opposite sides of the net only 12 hours later. The clash with Barsouk/Liamin was a make-or-break bout for Babich and Gordieiev after their countrymen Oleksii Denin and Sergiy Popov lost their match with 2014 Youth Olympic Games gold medallists Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin 2-1 (21-15, 18-21, 15-10).
Babich and Gordieiev had a difficult mission to accomplish – especially after losing the opening set 21-19 but they fought back in style cashing the second 21-15. However, they found themselves trailing right from the early stages of the tie-break and even though they closed in cutting their deficit from 6-3 to 7-6, Barsouk and the 203 cm tall Liamin produced an 8-2 run which resulted in a 15-8 win to secure a spot in the semis of the tournament and provide a bunch of Russian fans in attendance with something to cheer about.
Francisco Alfredo Marco and Christian Garcia extended Spain’s winning streak in Stavanger but they had to fight a lot more for it than they had done on Thursday in their matchup with Estonia. Marco/Garcia were able to cope with challenging weather conditions and eventually pulled out a 21-17, 17-21, 15-13 victory over Alexei Strasser and Nico Beeler of Switzerland.
Philip Gabathuler/Mirco Gerson responded by extending this tie to a ‘Golden Match’ as they celebrated their third victory in Stavanger – they had won twice, always at the tie-break, on Thursday when playing David Schweiner/Ondrej Perusic of the Czech Republic. Switzerland’s no. 1 tandem edged Cesar Menendez/Francisco Tomas 21-17, 21-19 to keep their Olympic dream alive and play their second ‘Golden Match’ in as many days.