Špindlerův Mlýn, Czech Republic, February 26, 2017. David Kufa/Robert Kufa are the new men’s champions at the Špindlerův Mlýn stop of the 2017 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour. The second-seeded Czech brothers triumphed on home snow after winning the much-anticipated final with the top-seeded Polish duo Michal Matyja/Piotr Janiak. This way, ‘Bobb’ Kufa defended the title he earned last year in partnership with Matyja.
The two pairs, who were pre-favourites to reach the final face-off, did not allow any surprises along the way. Interestingly, all seven men’s matches that were played on the snow courts at Svatý Petr Valley Station on Sunday were clashes between Czech and Polish duos.
In their semi-final match, the Kufa brothers fought their way back from a one-set deficit against ninth-seeded Piotr Groszek/Grzegorz Rusin to win by 2-1 (9-11, 11-9, 11-8) after 23 minutes of play. The story of the other semi-final was almost identical. In a match that lasted 23 minutes as well, sixth-seeded Tomas Pala/Jan Chalupa won the first set, but then Matyja/Janiak cruised to a 2-1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-3) win.
The third place match was the fastest one of the day. In only 14 minutes, Poland’s Groszek/Rusin crushed their Czech opponents Pala/Chalupa with a 2-0 (11-5, 11-7) shutout and claimed the bronze medals.
Then it was time for the big final. In front of over 400 cheering spectators, the two teams put a lot of precision into their attacks, exchanging points almost throughout the set. In the conclusive moments, one kill block by Janiak gave the Poles the break point that tilted it their way. Inspired by the home crowd, the Czech duo kept more concentrated than the opponents in the following three sets and celebrated victorious after rallying to a 3-1 win (9-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8).
“Two weeks ago in Iran we lost to this team and now we got our revenge, so it’s awesome - we like it!” exclaimed the Kufa brothers after the match. “It is really nice to win here, in the Czech Republic, as a home team. The crowd was amazing! They cheered for us and helped us win. We really enjoyed it. We will play at least one more tournament this year and we are really looking forward to the European Championship next year. The sport is really growing fast and this is great! This event was very cool and we would like to thank the organisers!”
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