Vienna, Austria, August 3, 2018 - Some 18 hours after the scheduled conclusion of pool play at the $600,000 A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch, the men’s group programme was completed here Friday mid-day with teams from Brazil, Latvia, Norway and Qatar finishing first to advance to the second round of elimination at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event.
The Vienna Major, the third Beach Major Series event on the 2017-2018 FIVB World Tour calendar, was forced to move the final eight men’s pool play matches from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning due to a rainstorm that delayed the completion of play.
When action resumed, third-seeded Anders Mol/Christian Sorum was the first group winner on Friday as the Norwegians posted a 2-0 (21-11, 21-9) Pool C win in 28 minutes over 19th-seeded Ilya Leshukov/Konstantin Semenov of Russia. The win was Mol and Sorum’s eighth straight on the FIVB World Tour as the young Vikings opened play on Thursday with a win over a team from Austria.
With an overall winning streak of 15-straight matches, Mol and Sorum started their string of victories with six straight wins in Switzerland to capture Norway’s first gold medal on the FIVB World Tour in 20 years by winning the Gstaad Major three weeks ago. The Norwegians posted a perfect 7-0 record again in the Netherlands to win the gold medal at the European championships.
“It was a very good game for us,” said the 22-year old Sorum, who is a year older than his partner. “Anders found a great rhythm on his serving and his block was as good as usual too. We just kept scoring points and our side out was solid, so we just kept control of it. It’s good that we managed to win our pool and avoid an extra game.”
Other pool winners on Friday were seventh-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia (Pool G), 11th-seeded Alison Cerutti/Andre Loyola of Brazil (Pool F) and 24th-seeded qualifiers Ahmed Tijan/Cherif Younousse of Qatar.
The Brazilian Double As - Andre Loyola (left) and Alison Cerutti
In earning a bye into the second round of elimination, Ahmed Tijan and Cherif have now won a match on each day of the Vienna Major with qualifying wins on Tuesday and Wednesday and pool victories on Thursday over ninth-seeded Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Igor Velichko of Russia and eighth-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria.
Cherif Younousse (left) and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar after their pool-clinching win Friday over Austria at the A1 Major Vienna.
“I don’t know if that was our biggest victory together,” said the 23-year Cherif after the win over Doppler and Horst, the silver medal winners at the 2017 FIVB World Championships in Vienna. “We played well today and hope for bigger victories in the coming days.”
Capturing group titles on Thursday afternoon were fifth-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands (Pool E), 13th-seeded qualifiers Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb of the United States (Pool D), 13th-seeded Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs of Latvia (Pool A) and 18th-seeded Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin of Russia (Pool B).
Men’s play continues on Friday afternoon with the first round of elimination where the second place finishers in each pool will be placed into the bracket and will play a third place team from a group. Two rounds of men’s elimination will be played on Saturday when the women will be competing in their semifinal and medal matches.
The men conclude competition Sunday with the final four matches as the gold medal winners will each share the $40,000 first-place prizes.