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Poland and Russia to meet in the U21 men’s final

Poland's Kacper Kujawiak (left) and Michal Bryl play their second final in Larnaka
Larnaka, Cyprus, July 27, 2014 - Michal Bryl and Kacper Kujawiak reached their second final in Larnaka. Two years ago the Polish won gold at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championship, on Sunday evening they will play Russian qualifiers Ilya Leshukov and Aleksandr Margiev in the U21 World Championship final.

Bryl and Kujawiak defeated Norway’s Hendrik Mol and Christian Sorum 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 15-8) in the semifinal. Losing the first set, their first in the entire tournament, did not make things easier for them in the hot weather conditions on Finikoudes beach.

“I was so nervous on the first ball”, said an exhausted Kujawiak. “We played point-by-point in the first set. Three of four balls made the difference. Mostly my fault. That’s why we lost the first set.”

The Polish came back strong in the second. Kujawiak: “After losing that first set, we said to each other: we are warriors, we must fight.”

Both teams struggled with the heat in the tiebreak, but Poland took a lead from the beginning and continued to push forward. At their second match point Kujawiak gathered all his strength to finish the match with a powerful spike.

Bryl and Kujawiak have fond memories of Larnaka. Two years ago they defeated another Polish team in the final of the U19 World Championships to claim their first gold.

“We love Larnaka, we love to play here. We played against Kaczmarek/Kaczmarek in the final, so we will try to repeat that”, Kujawiak said.

Russia overpowers France

In the first semifinal of the day Russia’s Leshukov and Margiev defeated France’s Maxime Thiery and Romain Di Giantommaso 2-0 (21-19, 21-12).

Thiery and Di Giantommaso, who knocked out Sannarnes/Berntsen in the quarterfinals (21-14, 21-18) could keep up in the first, but were no match for the Russians in the second set.

“I think we wanted to be in the final more than the French guys”, Margiev said. “We had a long and hard preparation for this, so to reach this final was very important for us.”

Before the tournament they had to play a try-out match in Russia against compatriots Yarzutkin/Stoyanovskiy to decide who would begin in main draw and they lost.

On Sunday morning they took revenge by defeating Yarzutkin/Stoyanovskiy 2-1 (21-18, 19-21, 15-11) in the quarterfinals. “Now we are the number one team and we are very happy with that”, said Margiev.

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