Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, March 18, 2017. A Slovenian pair brought joy to the home crowd in Kranjska Gora by delivering the first major upset at the fifth stop of the 2017 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour. 18th-seeded Denis Robida/Jernej Vrhunc scored three victories in a row, including one against second-seeded Czech stars Robert Kufa/David Kufa, to qualify for Sunday’s fourth round, just a step away from the semi-finals.
Following a tie-breaker win against Austria’s Stefan Riegler/Arwin Kopschar, the Slovenian duo went on to completing a dramatic comeback from a set down against the Kufa brothers, eventually stamping a surprising 2-1 (9-11, 16-14, 11-9) victory.
“It is a great feeling! We defeated one of the strongest teams at this tournament. I think it was kind of a surprise,” Jernej Vrhunc exclaimed. “The atmosphere is great and we enjoy it! It is sunny, it is warm – we are having a great time! Sure, our appetite for more victories has grown, but we will just try our best.”
Robida/Vrhunc did indeed add one more win to their Saturday tally, mastering a 2-0 (11-8, 11-7) victory over Hungary’s Izsák Soós/Artúr Hajós, but as Denis Robida put it, “we will take it one match at a time and we will see how far we go. It is most important to have fun.”
In the fourth round on Sunday morning, Robida/Vrhunc will have a tough job against the third-seeded team, Florian Schnetzer/Helmut Moser from Austria. The other winners’ bracket duel for a direct spot in the semis will feature an all-Polish clash between top-seeded Michal Matyja/Karol Szczepanik and fourth-seeded Piotr Groszek/Tomasz Cwiertnia.
Four more teams are still in contention for semi-final berths in the losers’ bracket – one each from the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Slovenia.
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