Dutchman Dirk Boehlé, one of the semifinalists in Aalsmeer
Aalsmeer, Netherlands, March 17, 2018 – The Netherlands, host to the Blooming Beach Aalsmeer 1-star men’s event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, will be represented by as many as three Dutch pairs in Sunday’s final four at The Beach indoor facility. They will be joined by New Zealand’s Ben O'Dea and Sam O'Dea.
With Saturday’s competition day starting off with the four losers’ matches in the pool stage of the main draw tournament, four teams from Denmark, Germany, Poland and Russia were eliminated before reaching the knockout stage. All five Dutch duos, however, advanced to the single elimination rounds and the three best-seeded teams - #1 Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, #2 Christiaan Varenhorst and Jasper Bouter and #4 Dirk Boehle and Steven van de Velde – reached the semis.
After disposing of Germany’s Bennet Poniewaz and Simon Kulzer and the Netherlands’ Ruben Penninga and Tom van Steenis, Indonesia’s Koko Prasetyo Darkuncoro and Danangsyah Pribadi had to face top seeds Brouwer and Meeuwsen in the quarterfinals. The experienced Dutchmen were too strong for the Indonesians and mastered a 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) win.
Boehle and Van de Velde, who will meet Brouwer and Meeuwsen in the all-Dutch semifinal on Sunday, had a long, but successful day, playing as many as eight sets in three matches.
They came back from a set down to snatch the third place in Pool D with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 15-11) victory over Poles Mateusz Paszkowski and Kacper Kujawiak. They then delivered a 2-0 (22-20, 21-12) shutout of Germans Max Betzien and Jonathan Erdmann, and in the quarterfinal round they persevered through another three-setter on the way to a 2-1 (14-21, 21-15, 15-12) win against third-seeded Ade Rachmawan and Mohammad Ashfiya from Indonesia.
Denmark’s Kristoffer Abell and Daniel Thomsen managed to knock out home team Sven Vismans and Jannes van der Ham in the first single elimination round, but Varenhorst and Bouter were too tough of an obstacle for them to overcome in the quarterfinals. The strong Dutch duo defeated the Danes 2-0 (21-13, 21-14) in just 26 minutes of play.
Olivier Barthelemy and Romain Di Giantommaso from France started their Saturday by winning the Pool C losers’ final against Denmark’s Morten Overgaard and Daniel Jonassen in straight sets. They followed up with another shutout, 2-0 (21-15, 21-13) against Poland’s Mateusz Lysikowski and Maciej Rudol. In the quarters, they also started well, winning the first set against New Zealanders O'Dea and O'Dea. But playing only their first match for the day, the Kiwis found fresh energy to turn the game around to a 2-1 (16-21, 21-16, 16-14) victory, which placed them among the best four of the tournament.
The New Zealanders will challenge Varenhorst and Bouter for a place in the final at 10:30 local time on Sunday. The second semifinal, between the other two Dutch teams, is scheduled for an hour later. The bronze medal match is set for 14:30 in the afternoon. The big final for gold will start at 15:30. All four games on the last competition day will be streamed live on the FIVB's YouTube Channel.