Špindlerův Mlýn, Czech Republic, February 25, 2017. At the end of the first men’s main draw competition day in Špindlerův Mlýn, two teams have already made it to the semi-finals and, as one may expect, these are the two top-seeded pairs. Last year’s winners Robert Kufa and Michal Matyja are both well in contention to win the title at this second stop on the 2017 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour, but each with their current partner – David Kufa and Piotr Janiak.
Poland’s Matyja/Janiak, seeded #1 by the draw, and Czech Republic’s Kufa/Kufa, seeded #2, cruised through three rounds of matches without losing any sets and are now awaiting their opponents for Sunday’s semi-finals.
Michal Matyja, the King of the Snow from the 2016 European Tour, and his teammate Piotr Janiak shut out two Czech duos in the second and the third rounds. First, they claimed a 2-0 (11-6, 11-7) win against Matej Dvorak/Kamil Urban and, then, managed a 2-0 (12-10, 11-3) victory over Peter Gyurovszky/Petr Polasek. On the way to the semis, they had one more obstacle – 12th-seeded Polish compatriots Jakub Kubacki/Adrian Broniarek. It took them only 13 minutes to overcome their opponents, shape up the final 2-0 (11-6, 11-4) and call it a day.
The home favourite Kufa brothers, on the other hand, had a couple of “extra-time” experiences along the way. In their first match, the Czechs took a really tough, hard-earned 2-0 (11-5, 14-12) victory over Poland’s Mateusz Paszkowski/Maciej Lewicki, seeded 18th. Their second win came a little bit faster – 2-0 (11-4, 11-8) against the Czech pair Tomas Jedlicka /Dominik Samec. The last match on today’s programme was another all-Czech affair. This time, David and Robert Kufa had to lock horns with sixth-seeded Tomas Pala/Jan Chalupa. Cheered by the spectators around the centre court, they put on an exciting battle with a dramatic twist at the end. The Kufas were ready to seal the deal when they had double match point at 10-8, but their opponents not only came back, but also gave them a late scare earning a set point of their own. However, Kufa/Kufa persevered to win the set and close the match at 2-0 (11-6, 14-12).
“I am really happy about our performance today, because we played relaxed, without many mistakes,” said David Kufa at the end of the day. “We enjoyed it, for now everything is perfect and we are looking forward to tomorrow. The snow today was quite soft, not very slippery and really perfect for Snow Volleyball.”
“I really like to play here, in Špindlerův Mlýn, because the atmosphere is really natural and the Czech fans are also helping us. Tonight we party a little bit and prepare for tomorrow. We play for fun and we really enjoy it, but since Michal and his partner beat us in Iran, tomorrow, if we meet again, it’s vendetta time!” added Robert with a smile.
Six duos, three from Poland and three from the Czech Republic, are still in contention for the remaining two spots in the semi-finals. The last two legs in the losers’ bracket will be played on Sunday morning, at 09:15 and 10:05 local time, and the first men’s semi-final is scheduled for 11:20.
Click here for more information.