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Patria Direct Prague Open | Men
  22/05/2012 - 27/05/2012

Six teams emerge from country quota in Prague

Former Czech Republic volleyball star Martin 'Tony' Lebl advanced with partner Peter Platenik from country quota into the qualification phase
Prague, Czech Republic, May 22, 2012 – Four teams from host country Czech Republic and one team each from Brazil and Germany earned a spot in the qualification tournament of the FIVB SWATCH World Tour Patria Direct Open on Tuesday. The fourth edition of the men’s only event in Prague started with excellent weather and lots of spectators on the stands at Stvanice Island.

Among the Czech teams that made it to qualifications were Martin ‘Tony’ Lebl (32) and Peter Platenik (31). Both are well-known indoor internationals, playing in Italy. They beat their younger compatriots Ondrej Kolder and Libor Leikep in three sets: 21-17 20-22 16-14.

While Lebl sidestepped to the sand before, it was Platenik’s first time in 12 years. “It was quite predictable they would serve to me all the time, thinking I would not be able to cope from a conditional point of view,’ said an exhausted Platenik afterwards. Lebl: “It was a bit more thrilling than we expected, we had too many unforced errors. But we are glad we are in qualification and will do better tomorrow.’’

Also advancing from country quota were Czech duo’s David Kufa and Ondrej Pridal, Martin David and David Lenc and Ondrej Hromadko and Jindrich Weiss.

For Brazil only two teams competed for a spot in the qualification tournament. Veteran Harley Marques and Evandro Goncalves had a relatively easy day, having to play only one match in country quota for a change. They beat their compatriots Roberto Pitta and Francisco Martins in just two sets: 21-19 21-16.

Germany had four teams rivalling for just one spot. Markus Böckermann and Mischa Urbatzka and Thomas Kaczmarek and Alexander Walkenhorst were the two teams still standing after the first round. After a thrilling first set Kaczmarek and Walkenhorst came back from behind to even the score, but in the tiebreak Böckermann and Urbatzka pulled through with 25-23 15-21 and 15-9, improving their head-to-head results 3-0.

“It was a tough game, especially with this weather. We did not go to Brazil or China and this was our first match in such hot and humid conditions’’, Urbatzka said. “We are glad we made it after all, with this many German teams here.”

Nearly a hundred teams from 36 different countries entered the FIVB SWATCH World Tour event in Prague. On Wednesday 60 teams will compete in the qualification tournament to fill up the eight places still open in main draw.

The $190.000 Patria Direct Open is the fifth of thirteen men’s events on the 2012 World Tour calendar, including the Olympic Games in London this summer. The women enjoy another week of rest and recuperation. Prague hosted the FIVB SWATCH Beach Volleyball World Tour before in 2008, 2010 and 2011.   
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22/05/2012 Six teams emerge from country quota in Prague
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