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Austrians into semis with three from three

Tobias Winter celebrates a place in the semifinals after a busy day on the court
Myslowice, Poland, June 8, 2013 – Austria’s Lorenz Petutschnig and Tobias Winter may have faced a busy day with three matches, but by the time they returned home they had booked themselves a place in the semifinals of the FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball World Championships on Saturday. 

They began by knocking out Ukraine’s highly fancied Sergiy Popov and Valeriy Samoday 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-13). Next up were Poland’s Maciej Kosiak and Maciej Rudol, who they saw off 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) and in their quarterfinal they defeated Latvia’s Haralds Regza and Abolins Armands 2-0 (21-18, 22-20). 

“Today it was a perfect day for us. We didn’t have a perfect start yesterday. We won two games, but were third in the group and we didn’t have the easiest draw with Samoday and Popov. 

“We said we had no chance, but we tried our best and it was really a perfect game for both of us,” Petutschnig said.

The result sets up a semifinal against the number one seeded team and reigning FIVB U21 World Champions Piotr and Kantor Losiak, who were once again roared on by a vociferous centre court crowd. 

“I think we’ll have to play our best, but nothing is impossible as we showed against Samoday and Popov,” Winter said. “They were one of the tournament favourites, as are Kantor and Losiak. I think everything is possible and we’ll just see tomorrow.”

Kantor and Losiak were forced to dig deep by Ruslan Bykanov and Yaroslav Ostrakhovskiy to reach the semifinals with a 2-1 (21-11, 17-21, 15-13) victory. The Russian duo won the second set and then pushed them hard in the deciding third. 

“We are very happy to have beaten the Russians, it was a really difficult game,” Kantor said. “After the first set we thought the rest of the match would be easier, but unfortunately we lost the second. 

“I think the Polish spectators would have loved the match and we are sure that tomorrow will be one of the most important games for us this season.”

The other semifinal will be between Brazil’s Marcio Guadie Ley and Vitor Goncalves Felipe and Latvian pair Rihards Finsters and Aleksandrs Solovejs.

Marcio and Vitor Felipe were too good for Germany’s Philipp Arne Bergmann and Jonas Schroder, whom they defeated 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) in their quarterfinal, while the Latvians beat Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Andrey Bolgov of Russia 2-1 (19-21, 25-23, 20-18).

“I think the German were very good, but my partner played very well as he is more experienced than me,” Marcio said. “Everyone respects him so much and you can see that in the match and they just served to me and served to me.”

Vitor Felipe has already begun to appear on the FIVB World Tour, but with the end to his age-group years coming to an end he is desperate to win the gold medal. 

“It is my last year (in age-grade tournaments) and I want to finish with a gold medal,” he said. “I have two second places from U21 and as this is my last year, I want a gold medal.”

Thirty-two teams per gender took place in the main draw of the inaugural FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball World Championships. The main draw started on June 6 and the tournament runs through until Sunday, June 9 when both the men’s and women’s finals take place. 

Myslowice, located 70km from Poland’s ancient capital Krakow, is hosting an FIVB age-group tournament for the third time, after successfully hosting the U19 and U21 version in 2006 and 2007.

It has also regularly hosted stops on the FIVB World Tour – the first tournament was a women-only tournament in 2008, as was the 2011 event. In 2009, 2010 and 2012 it was the men who lit up the sand. 

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