FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Fuzhou Open 2016 | 19 - 24 avril 2016


Press release

Kunert/Dressler stand firm to enter Fuzhou Open main draw

Thomas Kunert (left) and Christoph Dressler from Austria gain 2016 FIVB Fuzhou Open main draw spot after beating USA's Mark Edwin Burik and Ian Satterfield on the opening day

 Fuzhou, China, April 19, 2016 - Thomas Kunert and Christoph Dressler from Austria held off USA’s Mark Edwin Burik and Ian Satterfield to enter the main draw of the 2016 FIVB Fuzhou Open. The USA pair put up a tough fight taking the match to 2-1 (22-20, 18-21, 15-12).

Kunert/Dressler entered the qualification tournament as top seeds meaning only Burik/Satterfield stood between them and a place in Fuzhou Open pool play. The American team began the day confidently beating Croatia’s Ivan Zeljkovic and Filip Silic 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) before facing Kunert/Dressler in the second round.

Burik/Satterfield in only their second ever FIVB World Tour event together after the Qatar Open earlier in the month, came out strongly and the Austrians were made to fight hard for every point.

“It was an exhausting game, I think USA they played really well. The side out was really good and we had some problems to break them, but in the end we risked on the serve and made a good serve so I think a little bit luck in the end and we made it finally,” said Kunert.

“We’ve never played them before, we just know one by watching, but we saw their previous game and those two are really good at serving and really good at defending and they really play with heart, they play like Americans so it’s difficult to play them,” said Dressler.

The win for Kunert/Dressler places them in their fourth main draw of the season, the pair finishing ninth at the Xiamen Open the previous week.

“We need for sure top ten place, fifth place would be great for us,” said Kunert.

Norway’s Solhaug/Bergerud surprise challengers

Norway’s Svein Oddmund Solhaug and Daniel Bergerud decided what they needed to do in Fuzhou and they did it. In the morning they beat Jan Dumek and Pavel Rotrekl from the Czech Republic, 2-0 (21-12, 21-15) before meeting Switzerland’s Philip Gabathuler and Mirco Gerson.

The Swiss pair entered the qualification tournament as second seeds, but soon had a match on their hands with Solhaug/Bergerud. The Norwegian team claimed the first set and gaining momentum in the deciding set, closed the match 2-1 (21-23, 21-19, 15-13) for a spot in the main draw.

Norway’s Svein Oddmund Solhaug (left) and Daniel Bergerud)

“It was really great for us to come here to China and qualify, that was our goal as well and to be able to play our game and perform well under this pressure. It’s kind of hard pressure to play in the qualification because you have to win the games or else you are out. To be able to maintain the momentum and win it’s really good for us so we’re really very happy,” said Bergerud.

“We had nothing to lose, we just gave it all and we just have to play our best all the time, play hard, that’s our strategy and it works,” said Solhaug.

Solhaug/Bergerud play in their first FIVB tournament of the season.

“We never qualified before, this is the first time qualifying in the main draw, so we’re really excited to get a free hotel. The sad thing is that we need to reschedule our flight, but we’re looking forward to eating the free breakfast at the main draw hotel tomorrow!” said Solhaug.

Solhaug/Bergerud were not the only successful Norwegian team of the day. Kvamsdal Morten/Christian Sandlie Sørum also qualified for the main draw which begins on April 20 in Fuzhou.

The 2015/2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar began with three Open events at the end of 2015. The remainder of the 2015/2016 calendar will include multiple FIVB Open and multiple FIVB Grand Slam events along with more Swatch FIVB Major Series events, and the second Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. The highlight of the calendar will be the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil featuring 24 teams in each gender.

The event continues the road to Rio that lasts until June 13, 2016 with FIVB World Tour events counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine the 15 of 24 spots for each gender that will take part in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

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•    Fuzhou Open - Women
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