Ulveseth (left) and Lunde have chalked up their first World Tour main draw wins in Mersin
Mersin, Turkey, May 2, 2018 – Ingrid Lunde and Oda Ulveseth hit their stride quickly at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Mersin 3-Star tournament when they won both matches on the opening day of pool play on Thursday.
The Norwegians began with a 2-1 (21-11, 15-21, 18-16) win over the Czech Republic’s Martina Bonnerova and Sarka Nakladalova, and then followed up with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-8) defeat of USA’s Jace Pardon and Brittany Tiegs.
“It was our first win in a (3-Star) main draw, so we’re really happy,” Ulveseth said. “Our main aim this week was to win our first match in the main draw and after that it was for us to win our second game.”
“The first match was tight, we won 18-16 in the third and this one also was tight,” Lunde added. “It was very warm out there, but fun.”
In 2018 Lunde, 26, and Ulveseth, 24, have played on three World Tour tournaments and while they qualified for the main draw at the Fort Lauderdale 5-Star and Xiamen 4-Star they were unable to win once they were there.
Their two wins mean that they will now skip Friday’s first elimination round, though they will be back on the beach to support their fellow Norwegian teams.
“We have the day off now,” Lunde said. “The main thing we’ll do is sleep because our first match today was at 7.30 and we had to get up at 4.30 today.
“We’ll watch the other Norwegians because we have another women’s team and a men’s team. We don’t have a coach and they don’t have a coach either so we help each other out serving and cheering for each other.”
“It isn’t just two teams, but one team all together,” Ulveseth added, “the boys and the girls and that helps us when we are out on the road together.”
In the men’s side of the draw Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle made a winning start, but they needed to dig deep to beat Turkey’s Murat Giginoglu and Volkan Gogtepe in front of a rapturous centre court crowd.
The Belgians lost the first set, and were losing in both the second and the tie-break before they found another gear to finish with a 2-1 (15-21, 22-20, 15-11) victory.
“It wasn’t the start we hoped for,” van Walle said. “Sure we won but we used so much energy against a lower ranked team. They’re a good team and they’ve been together a long time, but we started weakly and weren’t convincing in the choices we made and that gave them confidence and that meant we had to start fighting hard and it costs you so much energy in this heat.
“We really wanted to dominate, take the bull by the horns and finish as fast as possible and we didn’t achieve that mission.”
Despite their concerns Koekelkoren and van Walle stepped up their second performance of the day to beat Latvia's Haralds Regza and Kristaps Smits 2-0 (24-22, 21-13) to top their pool.
For all the news and scores from the Mersin 3-Star click here.