Two Swiss teams stay alive in Lucerne


Marco Krattiger in action during the game against Norway

Lucerne, Switzerland, May 11, 2018 – The line-ups for the round of 16 at the Lucerne three-star double-gender event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour are now complete. Friday’s competition day put the Swiss teams in the spotlight at centre court. With both the enthusiastic home fans and the gorgeous weather on their side, two home pairs managed to push their way through and stay alive in the men’s tournament.

The men’s competition day started with the pool finals. Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich and Mirco Gerson climbed to the top of Pool G with a hard-fought 2-0 (21-19, 23-21) victory over Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov and qualified directly to the round of 16.

Two US duos, as well as one each from Belgium, France, Italy, Lithuania and Poland, followed suit and waited out the first knockout round to find out who their opponents in the battles for the quarterfinal spots would be.

Top-seeded Nico Beeler and Marco Krattiger were the home heroes of the first single elimination round. Inspired by the great support from the stands, they cruised to a 2-0 (21-13, 21-17) win over Norway’s Mathias Berntsen and Hendrik Nikolai Mol and advanced to the next round, where they will engage in an all-Swiss duel with Heidrich and Gerson that is sure to draw the home crowd to the stands of the beautiful purpose-built stadium on the shores of Lake Lucerne.

“I think now we are improving with every game. We didn’t start so well. The second game was a bit better and now we have found our confidence again,” Krattiger commented.

“We will try to win every game; we will try to play every game like it is our last,” Beeler added. “We are looking forward to playing at home, because at home is the best place. If we continue to improve like this, I think we can reach the podium.”

The next two of the highest seeded teams got eliminated in the first knockout round. Germany’s Philipp Arne Bergmann and Yannick Harms celebrated a tough come-from-behind 2-1 (13-21, 21-13, 15-13) win over second-seeded Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar, while American wildcards John Mayer and Trevor Crabb delivered a 2-0 (26-24, 21-14) upset of third-seeded Cubans Diaz Gomez Nivaldo Nadir and Sergio Reynaldo Gonzalez Bayard.

One more German duo, one more pair from the United States, as well as teams from Indonesia, the Netherlands and Serbia, also passed through the first elimination round and will play on Saturday.

One the women’s side, the losers’ matches in the pools were played on Thursday, so every single match that was played on Friday produced one participant in the round of 16.

Two teams each from Brazil and the Netherlands and one each from Austria, Brazil, Germany, Latvia and USA topped the pool standings and qualified directly for the second single elimination round. There they will face pairs from Russia (two), Australia, China, Italy, Japan, Ukraine and USA, who won their matches in the first.

Russian teenagers Mariia Bocharova, 16, and Maria Voronina, 18, 2017 European champions in both the U18 and the U20 age categories, matched their best result on the World Tour so far, the ninth place finish from a week ago in Mersin. Having placed third in their pool, they had to face the home pair Nicole Eiholzer and Elena Steinemann in the first knockout round. In a very exciting three-setter on centre court, the young Russians overcame the Swiss team’s and the Swiss fans’ resistance to emerge with a 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-10) victory. In Saturday’s battles for a spot in the quarterfinals, Bocharova and Voronina will match up against USA’s Emily Stockman and Kelley Larsen.

Maria Voronina blocking against Nicole Eiholzer

“It was a very difficult game, but we adjusted and eventually everything worked out,” Bocharova commented.

“We are very happy that we won against the strong team of Switzerland. It was a tough game for us, but we managed to deal with the emotions and the fans on the way to the victory,” Voronina added. “In the next round we are playing against a very strong and experienced American pair, but we will fight.”