American qualifiers upset Moscow champions in Berlin
The American qualifiers upset the freshly crowned Moscow champions, Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov 2-0 (21-18, 21-13) on Thursday at the lovely Beach Mitte courts.
“We were confident coming in”, said Bourne. “We know we can beat anyone out here on an even day. So, we just did that.”
The first set was close till 18-18. Then Bourne, with three kill blocks in a row on Krasilnikov, finished the set at 21-18.
The Americans, playing fast and attacking a lot on the second touch, grew in confidence and took a lead from 7-7 in the second set. Russia’s defender Krasilnikov got all the pressure and did not have a good day. He either hit out or in Bourne’s block.
“Standing next to this other guy (Semenov) I am not tall”, said the 1.95m blocker. “But I guess I put my hands in the right spot. I just thought: hopefully he brings the ball down to me every once in a while.”
At their first match point, 20-13, Hyden claimed victory with a cross-court spike. “We just played steady”, 24-year old Bourne said. “It’s a lot of ups and downs and we just said: play steady. Took care of the easy place.”
Bourne and 41-year old veteran Hyden hooked up last season, their best finish so far was a 9th place at the 2014 Shanghai Grand Slam. Being the oldest player on the Tour does not bother Hyden a bit.
"You just find a young kid that can play volleyball and you take him on. No, you know, it’s a lot of work. It’s eating healthy, maintaining my weight all the time, even in the off-season. There’s a lot of work going in at the gym. Got to take care of business while you’re off the court. There’s a lot to it.”
He plans on continuing for a couple of more years. “I think so, being out here makes it look a lot easier than waking up in the morning. But yeah, I feel like it. That’s my plan. Until some young kid comes along that can play as well as me and decides to take him (Bourne) on. That’s the way to go.”
His drive is clear: “I just love the sports. Every athlete, towards the end of his career, just doesn’t want to give it up. Since I am still playing at a high level and still feel like I can win, I am definitely not giving it up. But there will be a time where it kind of starts going downhill and I don’t want to hang on like that. When I don’t want to be here and I don’t have the motivation off court, that’s where it ends.”
Bourne and Hyden came from qualification, with a 2-0 win over Qatar on Wednesday. A nice warm-up? “I don’t think it’s an advantage. I think it’s just a lot of extra work. You know, we could come out here and train a little bit and work on stuff we need to, instead of playing matches. So anytime you can skip qualification and get directly into main draw you have an advantage.”
About their surprise first win in Berlin he said. “We expected to win them all! But seriously, we have beat good teams before. Everybody out here has an hour to see who’s better. So as long as we play our game, we’ll fight.”