Austrian pair silence Gstaad crowd for season’s best
The Austrians won 2-1 (21-13, 21-23, 16-14) to move into the second elimination round, the first time they have gone so far on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
“They were supporting the Swiss guys, but were very fair,” Doppler said. “It was very tough because we could have easily closed it 2-0, but it went to the third set. We kept on fighting and fighting and that is why the win is even better.”
Doppler and Horst have endured a topsy-turvy season so far and while they have enjoyed some continental success, they hadn’t been able to match their consistency of previous years.
They enjoyed 17th place finishes at the Berlin and Stavanger Grand Slams and failed to progress from their pool in Shanghai. However, with Doppler now fully recovered from an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury their form is beginning to return.
“We were waiting for a top 10,” Doppler said. “We started the season well with a second in a CEV event and bronze at the European Championships, but we always lost the match for ninth, so it feels good to be back in the top 10.
“We played some of our best volleyball at the start of the season and after my injury last year I didn’t expect us to be able to compete with all the good teams, so that makes me very proud.”
Polish pair hang on against Italian twins
Also into the second elimination round are Michal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz.
The Polish duo defeated Paolo and Matteo Ingrosso, 2-1 (24-22, 21-18, 17-15), a side they know well. Their familiarity shone through as they pushed each other hard throughout all three sets in which both had their chances to claim the win.
“During our preparation period we had a training camp in Italy and played against them,” Kadziola said. “We’ve known them really, really well for a long time.
“The first match we played in Italy in the European Championships and we lost, so we were really focused on gaining some revenge in this match. It was a hard match and tough to win.”
The victory sets up a clash against Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt, who topped Pool D and so went straight through to the second elimination round.
The Brazilians are another team that they have met this season and another win for the Polish pair would allow Kadziola and Szalankiewicz to match their World Tour best for 2014.
“Our average is between ninth and fifth, which is really good as we are always in the main draw,” Kadziola said.
“Tomorrow we play against Alison and Bruno. We lost against them in the Berlin Grand Slam quarterfinal, so it is the same situation we had with the Ingrossos. We might have some surprises for them.”
The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam runs from Wednesday, July 9 until Sunday July 13 when the men’s and women’s medal matches take place. It is the ninth event and the fifth Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that 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 Transavia Hague Grand Slam which runs from July 15-20.