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Czech team Benes/Perusic reach U21 main draw thanks to adrenaline and luck

Czech pair Ondrej Benes (left) and Ondrej Perusic reached main draw in Larnaka after failing to do so last year in Umag
Larnaka, Cyprus, July 23, 2014 - With a fair dose of adrenaline, some luck and a good amount of experience Ondrej Benes and Ondrej Perusic reached the main draw of the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships on Wednesday.

The Czech pair had to fight their way through qualification, defeating Dedkov/Sinhayeuski from Belarus (21-15, 21-19), Kazakhstan’s Dmitriyev/Polichshuk (21-8, 21-10) and Germany’s Rudolf/Betzien (13-21, 21-18, 15-13), but also had to deal with temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius and high humidity on the Finikoudes beach in the Cypriot resort of Larnaka.

“We are totally exhausted, but the adrenaline pushed us to victory”, said Perusic after their three-set match against the Germans. “We are not used to the temperatures, the heat. To play three matches in these temperatures was tough.” They were also struggling with the Cyprus winds.

Benes: “That was just freaky. In Europe you get wind like this in the winter and we don’t play beach volleyball in the winter. It was pretty annoying.” Their last match against Niklas Rudolf and Max Betzien was definitely the toughest, Perusic said. “Because of the length and the quality of the opponents.”

Benes: “They played really good and they are two big guys and we are two kind of small guys. I don’t know, it was a crazy match, but we got lucky and it was great.”

The match could have gone any way, said 19-year old Perusic. “Probably the difference in age, the experience made the difference in the end. Because the younger German guy (Rudolf) is two years younger than us. Maybe we have played more matches like this. That might have been the decisive factor.”

Benes and Perusic have been playing together for ten years now. Last year they did not make it to the main draw at the U21 in Umag. This year they finished 25th at the U23 in Myslowice, their best result so far.

Asked about their goal in main draw Benes said: “To have fun probably and try to keep on playing like we did, because we are finally happy with the way we play. In Poland, at the U23, we played terrible, like 3-year olds. It was crazy. We just want to enjoy it and at least play like this.”

Russians pushed hard by Australian twins

Russia’s Ilya Leshukov and Aleksander Margiev also played three matches to reach main draw. They defeated Cypriot team Spyrou/Yiannakkos (21-16, 21-14) and England’s Hunter/Stout (21-12, 21-11), but their toughest match was the final one against the Canadian twins Liam and Lucas Palmer (21-17, 19-21, 15-13).

The Russians won the first set, but the Canadians levelled and took the match into a tiebreak. The third set was point-by-point until the Canadians served in the net at 14-13.

What probably made the difference in this very close game was the fact that the Palmers played an exhausting second round match. It took them 1 hour and 3 minutes to defeat Australia’s Guehrer/Schubert (21-16, 28-30, 19-17). And only after a short rest they met up with the Russians.

“We knew that they were tired”, said Margiev, “so we expected the match to be over in two sets. But it took three and it was not an easy win.” All Leshukov could say was: “Sun, hot, tired.”

Leshukov and Margiev only arrived on Tuesday and did not have much time to adjust to the hot and humid Cypriot climate. One of them lives close to Siberia and the other is from Yekaterinburg. “We went from 8 degrees to 35”, Margiev said. “So we are happy we made it.”

Also qualifying for the main draw were USA’s Hagen Smith and Christopher Orenic and Illia Kovalov and Oleh Plotnytskyi from Ukraine.


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