Olympic champion Brink and new partner Fuchs progress
Reigning Olympic champion Julius Brink with new partner Sebastian Fuchs from Germany made an excellent start in Fuzhou|
Fuzhou, China, April 25, 2013 – Reigning Olympic champion Julius Brink with new partner Sebastian Fuchs from Germany finished second in Pool A at the Fuzhou Open in China on Thursday.
Brink won gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Jonas Reckermann and following Reckermann’s retirement joined forces with 26-year-old Sebastian Fuchs for the 2013 season.
The Germans, seeded 15th, won two out of their three Pool A matches, first losing to 16th seeds Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands (21-18, 21-14) before beating Chinese pair Wu Penggen and Wu Jiaxin (21-16, 24-22) on Wednesday.
Brink and Fuchs won their third pool match against Austrian qualifiers Alexander Huber and Robin Seidl (21-19, 21-15) on Thursday to progress to the first round of single elimination on Friday.
“I feel great because we won, it’s always the first feeling that you have," Brink said after Thursday's final group match. "It was the last match of the pool and I think we can be happy with two wins.
“For me and Sebastien it’s kind of a new situation. I would have been disappointed in the past at not winning every match but now at the starting of our team and career together, I think it’s a positive to be able to play another match in this tournament.
“I think we can be happy with the performance, it shows us where we are now. We’re not up to the top team’s level quite yet, but we’re going to improve with every ball and so from that point of view I’m pretty happy so far.”
Australia back in Fuzhou
Australian’s Isaac Kapa and Christopher McHugh, seeded 24th, are one of the only teams to have played in Fuzhou before when they collected silver at the AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup in 2012. The pair clung on to a spot in the knockout phase, just pushing out French qualifiers Andy Cès and Edouard Rowlandson when they met in their last pool match (17-21, 21-19, 15-12).
“I thought it was a great match. I can’t say enough about my partner, he played amazingly today, really came back strong for us in the latter half of the match and it’s really good to get the win on the board,” McHugh said.
“We were here last year for the AVC Continental final. Totally different weather conditions – it was 35 degrees and 80% humidity when we were here last and yesterday we played here against China and it was raining and freezing cold.
“I don’t think it gives us much advantage but definitely knowing the conditions in Asia gives us a big advantage.”
The Australian’s now meet Brazilians Vitor Gonçalves Felipe and Evandro Gonçalves Oliveira Júnior on Friday.
Leading the way into the knockout phase were American top seeds Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhausser who didn’t drop a set in pool play while Brazilian second seeds Pedro Solberg Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt will play in the first round of single elimination after losing on Wednesday to compatriots Ricardo Santos and Alvaro Filho, seeded 12th, who advanced to the second round.
Incredibly, six of the eight teams who entered the Main Draw from the Qualification Tournament also advanced through pool play into the first round of the knockout phase.
The 11th seeds Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varenhorst of the Netherlands couldn’t play their Pool E match against German fifth seeds Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik after Stiekema broke us his little finger in his right hand.
Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province lies on the southeast coast of mainland China and hosts the Open event for the first time.
The Fuzhou Open is the first of eight Open events during a bumper nine-month season, which also includes the FIVB World Tour – 10 Grand Slams and the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
The Shanghai Grand Slam is the next tournament on the calendar running from April 30 to May 5.
Please click here for full results of the Men’s Main Draw
Please click here for the final Men’s Pool Standings
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