Alexander Walkenhorst still in contention for second consecutive crown at Novi Sad Masters
2013 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship - Novi Sad Masters
Novi Sad, Serbia, July 19, 2013. Austria’s Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst, the first-seeded pair of the tournament, and Germany’s Alexander Walkenhorst/Lars Flüggen – winners of the CEV Satellite in Lausanne some weeks ago – qualified on Friday for the semis of the Novi Sad Masters, second stop of this year’s CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship. Their opponents will be known only on Saturday morning as the games starring Poland’s Maciej Kosiak/Maciej Rudol vs. Finn Dittelbach/Eric Koreng of Germany and 2012 U23 European champions Sergiy Popov/Valeriy Samoday of Ukraine vs. another Polish duo, 2013 U21 World champions Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak were postponed from Friday night to Saturday morning.
Doppler/Horst found their way to the semis after besting first Sweden’s Hannes Brinkborg and Stefan Gunnarsson (21-14, 21-19) and afterwards also Popov/Samoday at the end of a very close game (18-21, 21-11, 16-14).
Standing at 206 cm, Alexander Walkenhorst is the tallest player in action at the Novi Sad Masters and on Friday his block turned into a wall that was impossible to stand for Kantor/Losiak who were beaten 24-22, 21-17 and then also for his compatriots Dittelbach/Koreng (2:1; 20-22, 22-20, 15-12). Walkenhorst is hoping to claim his second consecutive gold in Novi Sad after last year he had made it to the top of the podium together with former partner Thomas Kaczmarek.
“Today was a very difficult day for us. First of all, this was the hottest day since the tournament got started. Besides that, the second match was against my ex partner, with whom I have played just two weeks ago and it was really weird. The match was extremely hard, we fought for each point for three sets, but we managed to have the better in the end” Walkenhorst says. “We believe that the Austrian guys are the favorites of this tournament, but we are younger and we believe that we will have it easier to handle this tropical weather. This is the third time I participate in the Novi Sad Masters and I am always glad to come back. The games here are always great and Novi Sad has got many beautiful girls” he comments with a smile.
The tournament has already come to a close for the home pairs. On Friday’s opening game Miljan Kikovic and Marko Nikolic were bested by Austria’s Thomas Kunert and Lorenz Petutschnig 0-2 (9-21, 16-21). After a nerve-wrecking second set Novi Sad’s favorites Sinisa Antonic and Marko Galesev could not avoid a defeat in straight sets (14-21, 22-24) in their fixture against the fourth-seeded pair of the tournament, Austria’s Daniel Müllner/Jörg Wutzl who eventually finished their campaign in ninth place after losing to Losiak/Kantor 1:2.
Exhilarating matches, pumping DJ sets and exciting side activities for the spectators attracted on Friday many fans though the temperature rose to 35° C in Novi Sad. On Saturday the stadium at Strand beach will be filled to full capacity as the semis are scheduled for noon and 1 pm before the classification match for the bronze medal and the gold medal game follow at 3:30 and 5 pm.
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All matches of the 2013 Novi Sad Masters are streamed live and for free on www.laola1.tv