Kissling & Zandbergen break into Espinho main draw, at last

 

Switzerland’s Michiel Zandbergen in action

Espinho, Portugal, July 18, 2019 – Gabriel Kissling & Michiel Zandbergen broke the seeding in the men’s qualifications twice on Thursday to become the lowest ranked team to progress to Friday’s 32-team main draw at the four-star Espinho stop on the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. 


The Swiss duo, seeded 19th in the qualification bracket, persevered through a hard-fought three-setter against 14th-seeded Danes Mads Rosager & Jacob Stein Brinck to emerge with a 2-1 (21-18, 20-22, 15-12) victory in the first round. In their deciding match, Kissling & Zandbergen delivered another upset, a 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) shutout of third-seeded Jiaxin Wu & Likejiang Ha of China. The last time this Swiss team managed to move from the qualifications to the main draw of a World Tour event was at the Oman one-star in March 2018, but now they hope to be “the bad draw” for any team that comes up against them on Portuguese sand this week.

“It’s great! Plying in the main draw was what we came here for. We want to further improve our game in the wind tomorrow. We already made a lot of progress from the first to the second game today. We know the qualifiers are always really tough. We played qualifiers all the time this year and lost most of them. We lost most of our points, but now we can get some points for the rest of the season, which is great. The goal now is to be the really bad draw for our next opponents, because we are better than our points,” Gabriel Kissling explained.

“Today, in these windy conditions in Espinho, anything is possible. It depends on who can handle it the best. We struggled in our first game, but in our second game we got to handle it better, we stayed calm, we didn’t get frustrated over stupid errors, we also had better serves and I think that’s what made the difference,” analyzed Michiel Zandbergen.

Spain’s Alejandro Huerta Pastor spikes over England’s block

In a nail-biting tie-breaker, Spain’s Cesar Menendez Ortego & Alejandro Huerta Pastor, seeded 11th, celebrated with a ticket to the main draw with a 2-1 (21-18, 14-21, 17-15) upset of sixth-seeded Austrians Martin Ermacora & Moritz Pristauz. Menendez & Huerta had managed a 2-0 (21-10, 21-15) knockout of England’s Mark Garcia-Kidd & Frederick Bialokoz in the first round.

The top seeds, number one Saymon Barbosa Santos & Gustavo Albrecht Carvalhaes of Brazil and number two Cole Durant & Damien Schumann of Australia, as well as fourth-seeded Jonathan Erdmann & Sven Winter of Germany, all of whom received a bye in the first round, were quite emphatic in their second round matches and moved forward without dropping a set.

Fifth-seeded Ruben Penninga & Jasper Bouter of the Netherlands, also with a bye in the first round, however, had to hammer out a difficult comeback from a set down against Ukraine’s Denys Denysenko & Vladyslav Iemelianchyk to get to a 2-1 (11-21, 21-11, 15-10) victory. So did seventh-seeded Maximilian Guehrer & Zachery Schubert of Australia in their second round encounter with Sweden’s Maximilian Guehrer & Zachery Schubert - 2-1 (12-21, 21-13, 15-12), and ninth-seeded Russians Maxim Sivolap & Artem Yarzutkin against eighth-seeded Cubans Sergio Reynaldo Gonzalez Bayard & Luis Enrique Reyes Rodriguez – 2-1 (18-21, 21-16, 15-10).

Russia's Artem Yarzutkin sets the ball