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Horst and Petutschnig crush Russia’s hope for a medal

Austria's Alexander Horst and Lorenz Petutschnig reached the final four totally unexpected

Moscow, Russia, August 24, 2013 – Alexander Horst and Lorenz Petutschnig crushed Russia’s hope of finally winning a medal at the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam on Saturday.

The Austrians first eliminated Grigoriy Goncharov and Serguei Prokopiev and in the quarterfinal they also defeated first seeded Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov in three sets (16-21 29-27 15-11).

The new Austrian team reached the semifinals, in which they will meet Brazil’s Emanuel Rego and Evandro Goncalves, totally unexpected. “I just wanted to play well and maybe win one game. I just can’t believe it”, Petutschnig said.

The 20-year old won bronze at the U23 World Championships this year with Tobias Winter. But he had never played in the main draw of a Grand Slam before and was invited at the last moment to play with Horst, when Horst’s partner Clemens Doppler injured his knee at the European Championships in Klagenfurt.

“Our goal for this tournament was to get out of the pool and we did that after our second game more or less”, Horst said. “Everything else afterwards, we just wanted to play and try to do our best and have fun.”

“I expected him to play good of course. But he had to play a lot of side-outs this week and he made a lot of points and not a lot of mistakes. It’s unbelievable.”

The new pair only had one practice together. “Because last week he was at the under 22 European champs and he came back at Monday afternoon and on Tuesday morning we already had our flight to Moscow”, Horst said.

“So of course this is amazing. We gave him a chance and he took it.”

After 2-0 wins over Latvia’s Ruslans Sorokins and Toms Smedins and Russia’s Goncharov and Prokopiev the Austrians lost the first set against Semenov and Krasilnikov.

The Russians even had two opportunities, at 23-22 and 27-26, to claim victory, but Horst and Petutschnig kept coming back to reel in the set at their sixth set point.

After that mental blow Semenov and Krasilnikov were not able to get their act together. A lot of Russian serves went out of bounce and at 14-11 Krasilnikov hit the ball out.

“When we were leading in the third set I could not believe what was happening”, Petutschnig said. “I looked on the scoreboard and it was 13-10 or 13-11. And then Semenov made a service mistake. I was just laughing because I could not believe it.”

Brazil against Latvia in the other semifinal

Gstaad champions Ricardo Santos and Alvaro Morais Filho also made it to the final four, the fourth time this year. They will play Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs.

The vice-world champions from Brazil had to play three matches on Sunday, because they finished second in the pool after losing to Russia’s Goncharov and Prokopiev.

First they eliminated the world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen 2-0, then Kazakhstan’s Sidorenko and Dyachenko 2-0 before they defeated another Dutch team, Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varenhorst in three sets: 18-21 21-19 15-13.

“They played really, really well”, Alvaro said about tall Stiekema and Varenhorst. “They were in front most of the time. I think in this match our spirit, the eye of the tiger was the reason we won.”

In the tiebreak the Dutch took a two-point-lead twice, at 4-6 and 9-11, but at 12-11 Ricardo and Alvaro took over and finished the game at their second match point.

Asked if Russian gold could top Gstaad gold, Alvaro said. “Gstaad was different, because it was my first gold. But here in Russia, it’s my first time here, I feel the spirit of volleyball. People really enjoy the game. They breathe volleyball.”

FIVB Moscow Grand Slam Tournament Page
FIVB Moscow Grand Slam Men’s Main Draw
FIVB Moscow Grand Slam Women’s Main Draw
FIVB Moscow Grand Slam Twitter Account



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