Gstaad, Switzerland, July 24 2007 - Igor Kolodinsky and Dmitri Barsouk are considered the “best” new team on the 2007 international Beach Volleyball circuit, but it was the Russians who were “bested” here Tuesday during the opening pool play matches at the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships powered by 1to1 energy by a team from the Czech Republic.
After claiming their third bronze medal of the season in their fifth “final four” appearance on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the sixth-seeded Kolodinsky and Barsouk were beaten 21-19 and 21-19 in 39 minutes by 43rd-seeded Martin Lebl and Michaal Biza of the Czech Republic in a Pool S match.
“It was our day,” said the 27-year Lebl, who won a FIVB Challenger event earlier this season with Biza in the Czech Republic. “The Russians, especially Kolodinsky, are noted for their strong service game and aggressive style. Today, it was us with the strong service game and my block defense. It is a satisfying win, but we still need to play well in our next two pool play matches to reach the elimination bracket. We are happy, but we can not become over-confident with a big win like today’s victory.”
While Lebl has played in the Beach Volleyball’s most prestigious events, including the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games with Michal Palinek, Biza is competing in the SWATCH-FIVB World Championships for the first-time. The Czechs are hoping to match the success of the last No. 43 seed in the world championships as Marvin Polte and Thorsten Schoen of Germany placed fourth in 2005.
“Our goal is the Beijing Games, so today’s win is important,” Lebl added. “I think we were ready to play today and we caught the Russians not at their best. We still have two very tough matches left in our pool against the Estonians and the Italians, so we need to work hard for another win against two quality teams.”
In the other Pool S match Tuesday, 19th-seeded Kristjan Kais and Rivo Vesik of Estonia posted a 17-21, 21-16 and 15-8 win in 48 minutes over 30th-seeded Riccardo Lione and Matteo Varnier of Italy. The Estonians won their country's first-ever SWATCH-FIVB World Tour gold medal last month in Croatia.
“There are not easy matches on this tour,” said Lebl, who also plays in the Italian indoor league. “After surprising the Russians, I don’t think we will catch the next two teams by surprise.” Lebl and Biza will challenge Kais and Vesik Wednesday and end pool play Thursday against the Italians.
Tuesday’s other “surprising” result was posted by Shun Zhou and Jian Li as the 33rd-seeded scored a 21-18 and 21-19 win over 16th-seeded Andrew Schacht and Joshua Slack of Australia. The Chinese posted their best SWATCH-FIVB World Tour placement this past weekend with a seventh in Marseille where the Aussies were fifth.
Zhou and Li will now challenge ninth-seeded compatriots Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu Wednesday for the Pool V leadership after their Chinese rivals defeated 40th-seeded Yannick Salvetti/Guilherm Deulofeu of France 21-19 and 21-15 in their opening match Tuesday. Zhoul Li will finish pool play Thursday against the French while Wu and Xu face the Aussies.
The 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships also features women’s competition as play continues through the weekend. The women’s semi-finals and finals are set for Saturday followed by the men’s “final four” matches Sunday where Brazilians Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes have returned to defend their title won the day after May-Treanor and Walsh’s success in Berlin.
The third-seeded Brazilians won their opening match Tuesday by defeating 46th-seeded Kirk Pitman and Jason Lochhead of New Zealand 21-16 and 21-19. Marcio Araujo and Fabio play 27th-seeded Kentaro Asahi and Katsuhiro Shiratori of Japan Wednesday and end Pool P play Thursday against 22nd-seeded Joao Brenha and Miguel Maia of Portugal.