Thole and Wickler greet each other during their match against Cuba
Ostrava, Czech Republic, June 21, 2018 – The first batch of teams, who qualified directly to the second single-elimination round at the Ostrava four-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, emerged on Thursday, with the exception of two men’s pool winners, whose matches were interrupted by sudden thunderstorms and postponed for Friday. Many of the top seeds, especially in the men’s competition, failed to win their pools, upset by lower-ranked pairs, but with the losers’ matches in the pools also scheduled for Friday, everybody is still in contention.
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Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler, seeded 30th, delivered the biggest sensation of the day. Coming into the main draw from Wednesday’s qualifications, the young Germans, both in their early 20s, added another two victories to their winning streak at Ostrava to top their pool and book their direct flight to the second elimination round. They started their day with a come-from-behind 2-1 (21-23, 21-17, 15-9) win over third-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands. In the winners’ match in Pool C, Thole and Wickler faced few issues against Cuba’s Diaz Gomez Nivaldo Nadir and Sergio Reynaldo Gonzalez Bayard and defeated them 2-0 (21-15, 21-18).
“It was awesome to play against Brouwer and Meeuwsen and it was awesome to win. And we played well. It is a nice tournament her and we feel good!” Wickler said.
“It’s a great venue, really interesting and it is good to be around!” Thole added. “I think there are a lot of good teams and we play the games really relaxed, under no pressure, and we are really looking forward to the next game…”
In addition to Brouwer and Meeuwsen, top-seeded Alison Cerutti and Andre Loyola Stein of Brazil, sixth-seeded Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst of Austria and seventh-seeded Pedro Solberg and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil were also upset by lower-ranked opponents and failed to win their pools.
With the final results in the Pool E match between Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak and Canada’s Grant O'Gorman and Ben Saxton and in the Pool H game between Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner and Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov still pending, Thole and Wickler are joined into the second knockout round by known pool winners Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl of Poland, Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior and Vitor Goncalves Felipe of Brazil, Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo of Italy, Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs of Latvia and Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko of Russia.
On the women’s side, 16th-seeded Joy Stubbe and Marleen Ramond-van Iersel of the Netherlands had to persevere through two three-set matches to win Pool A and jump forward to the second knockout round. They started off with a 2-1 (21-17, 16-21, 15-10) win over USA’s Lauren Fendrick and Lane Carico, before upsetting top-seeded home favourites Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova with a 2-1 (21-16, 20-22, 15-10) victory in the winners’ game of the pool.
“It was a tough day, with two three-setters, but it was OK,” said van Iersel after defeating the Czech team. “We showed a good game. Even the second set was close – we didn’t play bad; just the Czechs played a really good set. So we had to battle it down in the third and I am happy we won.”
“It will be the same thing in the next round. We will be patient in our game,” Stubbe added. “We trust our game and, point by point, we’ll see where it ends... As far as possible...”
Also winning their pools with two victories each and joining Stubbe and van Iersel with direct tickets to the round of 16, are Germany’s Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude, Brazil’s Maria Antonelli and Carolina Solberg Salgado, Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa - Duda, also of Brazil, Germany’s Karla Borger and Margareta Kozuch, Poland’s Kinga Kolosinska and Katarzyna Kociolek, Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre and Germany’s Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider.