Top teams perform well on opening day of Novi Sad Masters Main Draw
2013 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship - Novi Sad Masters
Novi Sad, Serbia, July 18, 2013. The Main Draw of the 2013 Novi Sad Masters got started on Thursday morning and the actions immediately attracted a large crowd there at Strand beach where the second stop of this year’s CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship is taking place.
Austria’s Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst – the top-seeded duo of the tournament – opened their quest for glory by besting Jonas and Gabriel Kissling of Switzerland in straight sets (27-25, 21-17). Poland’s Bartosz Losiak and Piotr Kantor – the second-seeded pair – also caught a good start as they cruised past Austria’s Thomas Kunert/Lorenz Petutschnig in straight sets too (21-17, 21-16). Germany’s Alexander Walkenhorst and Lars Flüggen – who recently claimed gold at the CEV Satellite in Lausanne – scored two straight wins as they first routed Belgium’s Yannick Pirali and Bob Douwen (21-13, 21-9) before besting home heroes Sasa Surla/Djordje Klasnic (21-9, 21-15). Switzerland’s Sébastien Chevallier/Mats Kovatsch – though seeded number 3 of the entry lists – lost two matches on Thursday and ended their campaign with a disappointing seventeenth place. They first surrendered in straight sets to Germany’s Finn Dittelbach/Eric Koreng (15-21, 19-21) before they were ousted by another German duo, Armin Dollinger/Jonas Schröder, once again in straight sets (18-21, 14-21).
Last year’s bronze medalists from the Novi Sad Masters, Spain’s Francisco Alfredo Marco and Christian Garcia, lost their first game to Hannes Brinkborg/Stefan Gunnarsson of Sweden after a real marathon (1:2; 16-21, 21-17, 13-15) but managed to bounce back by scoring a speedy win against Pirali/Douwen (21-13, 21-19). Turkey’s Murat Giginoglu and Selcuk Sekerci – who this past June claimed gold at the Mediterranean Games in Mersin – bested Serbia’s Sinisa Antonic/Marko Galesev 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) before they extended their winning streak by edging Switzerland’s Mirco Gerson/Alexei Prawdzic 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, and 15-10). The Turkish players are well-known in Novi Sad for in 2011 Selcuk Sekerci claimed silver together with former partner Volkan Gögtepe while Giginoglu finished thirteenth together with Nuri Sahin.
After fighting bravely against Serbia’s Antonic/Galesev, Frenchmen Andy Cès and Edouard Rowlandson (seeded 12) had to leave the court due to Andy’s leg injury. Antonic/Galesev, who are both natives of Novi Sad, will try to continue their home campaign alongside another Serbian duo, Miljan Kikovic and Marko Nikolic who on Thursday edged their compatriots Surla/Klasnic in straight sets (21-18, 23-21). “We are very happy to play this competition and will try to do our best in the next phases. This match was very tough since we know Sasa and Djordje very well, we are friends and are familiar with each other’s weaknesses and strengths, but today we showed more patience and determination. However, we want to congratulate our opponents on their good game and to thank the audience for the fantastic support we got from the stands” stated a visibly happy Miljan Kikovic who together with his teammate is debuting in a CEV Masters tournament.
At the end of the day the following teams were eliminated from the competition: Andreas Takvam/Runar Sannarnes (NOR), Yannick Pirali/Bob Douwen (BEL), Andy Cès/Edouard Rowlandson (FRA), Eduard Reznik/Iaroslav Gordieiev (UKR), Mirco Gerson/Alexei Prawdzic (SUI), Sasa Surla/Djordje Klasnic (SRB), Sébastien Chevallier/Mats Kovatsch (SUI) and Georgios Kotsilianos/Nikos Zoupanis (GRE).
The second round of the Main Draw will take place on Friday starting at 9 am providing a chance for the remaining teams to make it to the semis and finals coming up on Saturday. A Zonal Phase tournament for the inaugural CEV Youth Beach Volleyball Continental Cup is also set to start on Friday. Young players from Serbia, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Malta aged from 14 to 17 will be competing for two spots for the final stage of the Continental Cup coming up in May 2014 and where the top six teams will get the right to participate in the 2014 Youth Olympics taking place in Nanjing, China.
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All matches of the 2013 Novi Sad Masters are streamed live and for free at www.laola1.tv