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Swiss in dreamland after reaching Anapa semifinals

Philip Gabathuler has exceeded all expectations by reaching the Anapa Open final
Anapa, Russia, May 31, 2014 – Philip Gabathuler and Mirco Gerson admitted that they have exceeded their expectations after they reached the Anapa Open semifinals on Saturday. 

The Swiss pair defeated Spain’s Francisco Alfredo Marco and Christian Garcia 2-0 (21-15, 21-14) to reach the last four of an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event for the first time. There they will play one of the 2013 gold medallists Konstantin Semenov and his current partner Viacheslav Krasilnikov.

“It feels great because it is our first semifinal and these are moments you work hard for and dream about and now it feels great,” Gabathuler said.

“The expectations were to play well and to play competitively and play how we know we can play. This shows that with our skills, when they come together on a good day and with luck on our side it is possible and that makes me proud.”

Marco and Garcia had been one of the revelations of the week impressing with their high energy game, but they were nullified by the combination of the towering Gabathuler and the nimble Gerson.

“I knew them a bit before,” Gabathuler added. “We’ve trained together before and they have to fight for everything because they aren’t the tallest, but they are very good technically.”

Semenov and Krasilnikov were pushed hard in their quarterfinal by Estonia’s Kristo Kollo and Rivo Vesik before winning 2-1 (21-18, 22-24, 15-13).

The Russians appeared set fair after winning the first set, but their Baltic neighbours hit back hard in the second and pushed them hard again in the third, before Semenov and Krasilnikov’s greater experience pulled them through. 

“We knew that Kollo and Vesik are a good team, but we made a lot of mistakes and had to fight to lift ourselves,” Semenov said. 

“We can reflect on our mistakes overnight and out in a good performance in the semifinals. We wouldn’t have won without all the support in the stands.”

The second semifinal will be between Latvia’s Olympic bronze medallist Martins Plavins and Aleksandrs Solovejs and Switzerland’s Sebastien Chevallier and Alexei Strasser. 

Plavins and Solovejs won 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 15-10) against Qatar’s Tiago De J Santos and Jefferson Santos Pereira, while Chevallier and Strasser beat China’s Cheng Chen and Jian Li 2-0 (21-17, 21-17). 

The double-gender US$150,000 FIVB Anapa Open in Russia runs from Tuesday, May 27 through to Sunday June 1 and the top three teams in each gender receive 250, 225 and 200 world ranking points. It is the fifth event and the fourth Open on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar, which features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.

The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Moscow Grand Slam which runs from June 11-15.


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