Austrian youngsters upset triple European champions on their last appearance
2013 CEV A1 Beach Volleyball European Championship Final presented by checkrobin.com
Klagenfurt, Austria, August 2, 2013. The longest day of this European Championship will be one to remember for the host country and thousands of fans who flocked to the centre court set up on the shores of the Wörthersee. After Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger had come from behind to win a dramatic game and make the semis, local youngsters Thomas Kunert and Lorenz Petutschnig added something more to celebrate for they beat triple European champions Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil 31-29, 21-13 to advance to the 1/8 finals coming up on Saturday and play there Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira.
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Kunert/Petutschnig got a wild-card to compete for the first time at the European Championship and after doing well in pool play, they did not show any fear as they stood before some of the most decorated Beach Volleyball players of the past decade. Kunert and 2012 U20 European champion Petutschnig (pictured) set the pace of the game right from the start but the Dutchmen clawed back right before the final rush. Nummerdor and Schuil – who have a collection of five medals from the European Championship – could not capitalize on four set balls and their opponents needed seven attempts before sealing the final 31-29. With Schuil retiring at the end of this season, that was the last chance for the Dutch pair to add something more to their superb resume but they totally ran out of fuel in the second set as Petutschnig was on a class of his own to bring it home at 21-13 for the joy of 8,000 fans. The Austrians then started running around to celebrate together with their supporters for something, Petutschnig said, “that is just amazing for we have beaten two guys who have won almost everything in Beach Volleyball”.
2013 world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen rounded out the program on centre court as they got past Germany’s Markus Böckermann and Mischa Urbatzka in straight sets (30-28, 21-16). The first set got quite complicated as the Dutchmen missed out on six opportunities to go for the provisional 1:0, but their opponents also did not cash three chances for what would have been a sensational lead. In the end, with Meeuwsen struggling in reception, Brouwer made the difference and after that everything went easy in the second set where the “Oranjes” displayed their power to make it to the 1/8 finals and go there for a “big match” against 2013 world bronze medallists and 2011 European vice champions Kay Matysik and Jonathan Erdmann of Germany in a remake of the World Championship semi that Brouwer and Meeuwsen claimed in straight sets in Stare Jablonki.
The first elimination round did also see Turkey’s Murat Giginoglu/Selcuk Sekerci beat Russia’s Yury Bogatov/Alexey Pastukhov 2:1 (21-14, 19-21, and 16-14) while Norway’s evergreen Iver Andreas Horrem and his partner Geir Eithun needed only two sets to edge Switzerland’s Sebastian Chevallier and Mats Kovatsch (24-22, 21-15). The Swiss still have one team in the competition for Mirco Gerson and Alexei Prawdzic did not even play their game as their opponents, Doppler/Horst, had withdrawn already well before the end of pool play. Germany’s Sebastian Dollinger/Stefan Windscheif also got a bye to the next round as Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Yaroslav Koshkarev did also forfeit. The last pairs who made the 1/8 finals were Spain’s Christian Garcia and Francisco Alfredo Marco – with a 21-17, 21-16 win over Estonia’s Rivo Vesik/Kristo Kollo – and Jon Stiekema/Christiaan Varenhorst of the Netherlands who edged last year’s fourth-ranked Michal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland.