Montpellier semis a French and Swiss affair

 

Montpellier, France, August 31, 2018 - The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 1-Star event in Montpellier continued on Friday with the Round of 12 and quarterfinal matches to determine the four teams per gender contesting the semifinals and medal matches due to take place on Saturday. The last stages of the competition will feature teams from Switzerland and France only, with as many as three men’s and two women’s teams from the host country still in the race for the podium.

Women’s semis a French / Swiss affair
The women’s competition resumed on Friday with the Round of 12 featuring teams that had finished second and third in their pools. Laura Longuet and Ophélie Lusson, despite playing only their second tournament together, used their experience to edge their younger compatriots Clémence Vieira and Mia Guyot Polverini. Greece’s Dimitra Manavi and Konstantina Tsopoulou stormed to an easy 21-16, 21-13 victory over Norway’s Emilie Olimstad and Frida Berntsen. A shoulder injury to Annemieke Driessen prevented her and partner Ilke Meertens from contesting the match with Switzerland’s Kim Huber and Tatjana Huber. The last team to progress to the quarterfinals was Japan’s Satono Ishitsubo and Asami Shiba.


Nicole Eiholzer and Tatjana Greber fight for a spot in the semis of the Montpellier event in an all-Swiss quarterfinal

Teams from Switzerland and France dominated the next round of the competition. Longuet and Lusson secured their ticket to the semis playing with much determination to claim a 2-0 victory over Switzerland’s Laura Caluori and Dunja Gerson. Longuet and Lusson will be playing another Swiss team in the semis, namely Esmée Böbner and Zoé Vergé-Dépré, winners of the CEV Satellite held in Ljubljana earlier this summer. Teams from France and Switzerland will contest the second semi as well. Nicole Eiholzer/Elena Steinemann claimed the Swiss derby with Huber/Greber 2-1 in the quarterfinals and their next opponent will be France’s Alexandra Jupiter and Lézana Placette, winners in two sets of Ishitsubo/Shiba.

Three French teams make it to men’s semis
Two teams from England contested the Round of 12. The twin brothers Joaquin and Javier Bello lost to Mees Blom/Yorick de Groot of the Netherlands while Chris Gregory/Issa Batrane beat their Japanese opponents Yu Koshikawa and Hiroki Dylan Kurokawa. Home favourites Romain Di Giantommaso and Jérémy Silvestre fought back from their loss in the pool to stay alive in the competition after edging Ruben Penninga and Tom van Steenis of the Netherlands. The last team to qualify for the quarterfinals were Florian Breer/Yves Haussener of Switzerland who beat South African qualifiers Jamaine Naidoo and Leo Williams.

Breer/Haussener continued their winning streak as they beat Jakob Molin and Linus Tholse of Sweden in the quarterfinals. “Their service and side-out were very effective. Sadly we lost to a Swiss team that we had never played with before,” Molin said. The Swiss will next play Youssef Krou and Quincy Ayé of France. Krou’s powerful attacks and Aye’s blocks produced a 21-18, 21-14 victory over Bloom and De Groot. “This match was somehow weird, because it depended more on the service than the defence game,” Krou stated. “Tomorrow we will be playing against a very good Swiss team and we will have to be careful because, even though they are physically not that imposing, they know how to serve. We have to prepare very carefully for this match.”

The second semi will be an all-French affair. Edouard Rowlandson/Olivier Barthélémy will play Di Giantommaso/Silvestre. Di Giantommaso/Silvestre, winners of last week’s CEV Satellite in Siofok, won the derby with Maxime Thiercy (a three-time French national champion) and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat 2-0 at the end of a close game (21-19, 21-15).