Russian pair take final European Snow Volleyball title
After a very strong showing in their semifinal match, where they cruised to a speedy 2-0 (11-8, 11-2) victory over the “King of Snow” Michal Matyja and his Polish compatriot Karol Szczepanik, seeded second in the main draw, the fourth-seeded Bogatov/ Daianov had to face the other unbeaten team – third-seeded Slovenians Tadej Bozenk/ Danijel Pokersnik, in the final – in the Kronplatz final.
In their semifinal, Bozenk/ Pokersnik had disposed of last year’s winner in Kronplatz, Germany’s Benedikt Doranth, and his partner Julius Hoefer in a 2-0 (11-9, 11-7) shutout.
Cheered on by the many spectators around the centre court under the Concordia 2000 bell, the Russians and the Slovenians put on a very tough battle.
The first set went way beyond the 11th point and was won by Bogatov/ Daianov. The Russians were quicker in taking the second set and this was the only set that didn’t go to extra time. At that point Bozenk/ Pokersnik started working on a comeback.
They took the third set to stay in contention, while the fourth set was an epic, out-of-this-world duel between snow volleyballers of the highest level. The Slovenians missed several opportunities to close it in their favour and prompt a tie-breaker. The Russians could not convert any of their match points before finally emerging victorious 3-1 (15-13, 11-6, 11-13, 24-22). With a total of 46 rallies, the last set tied the European Tour record set just a week ago in the men’s final at the Malbun stop.
“This was the most difficult match we have played anywhere any time,” exclaimed Ruslan Daianov while trying to catch his breath immediately after the winning point. “This was a powerful game and a real show with a lot of great action. This was our second participation on the European Tour and our second gold. We are so happy. We will play again next year.”
Before being crowned 2017 King of the Snow, Michal Matyja and his partner Karol Szczepanik tried to finish the season with a medal, but the bronze went to Benedikt Doranth/ Julius Hoefer, who won the third-place match 2-1 (11-9, 9-11, 11-6).