16 Men’s teams still standing Friday at FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam
With packed stadium center grandstands from the first whistle in the morning to the final one in the early evening, overflow throngs of cheering fans who appreciated athletes from all countries but especially their own, the 2014 FIVB World Tour stop is being held in Klagenfurt through Sunday in a spectacular purpose-built venue at picturesque Klagenfurt am Wörthersee. Local event information, including live scoring, match play-by-play and statistics are available at beachvolleyball.at.
Surviving Friday’s matches that lit up the Klagenfurt sand to advance to Saturday were three teams from Germany along with two from the United States and one each team from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and Switzerland.
On Saturday, the men’s round of 16 and quarterfinals will be held as well the women’s semifinals and medal matches. On Sunday, the men’s semifinals and medal matches will conclude the FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam.
ROUND OF 16 MATCHUPS
Earning a bye into the second round of single-elimination play, the eight pool winners will begin Saturday’s schedule by facing the winners of Friday’s first round of elimination matches involving the second and third place teams from the eight, four-team pools that started main draw play Thursday in Klagenfurt.
The first four men’s round of 16 matches Saturday morning will have Poland’s second-seeded Mariusz Prudel/Grzegorz Fijalek meeting Germany’s 23rd-seeded Mischa Urbatzka/Markus Bockermann, Australia’s 21st-seeded Christopher McHugh/Isaac Kapa facing off against Kazakhstan’s 26th-seeded qualifier Alexandr Dyachenko/Alexey Sidorenko; Chile’s 28th-seeded qualifier Marco Grimalt/Estaban Grimalt will play USA’s 13th-seeded John Hyden/Tri Bourne and Italy’s seventh-seeded Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo will line up against the Netherlands’ 14th-seeded Jon Stiekema/Christiaan Varenhorst.
In the second half of the men’s round of 16 matches, Latvia’s fourth-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins will take on USA’s 16th-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, Switzerland’s 20th-seeded qualification team Philip Gabathuler/Mirco Gerson will try to hold off Russia’s 11th-seeded Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Konstantin Semenov, Austria’s ninth-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst will try to serenade home country fans playing against Brazil’s third-seeded Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and an all-German battle royale will see Germany’s sixth-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik being challenged by German compatriots 17th-seeded Alexander Walkenhorst/Stefan Windscheif.
The losers in the round of 16 will be eliminated and leave Klagenfurt with official ninth-place finishes and purses of $11,000 per team.
FIRST ELIMINATION ROUND
In the first four elimination matches Friday afternoon, Germany’s 23rd-seeded Urbatzka/Bockermann held off the charge from Canada’s 25th-seeded Chaim Schalk/Ben Saxton, winning in three sets, 21-14, 18-21 and 15-13 in 44 minutes; Australia’s McHugh/Kapa upset USA’s top-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal, 24-22, 23-21 in 39 minutes, USA’s Hyden/Bourne beat USA compatriots 22nd-seeded Todd Rogers/Theodore Brunner, 21-16, 21-13 in 31 minutes and Italy’s Nicolai/Lupo eliminated Brazil’s eighth-seeded Ricardo Santos/Alvaro Filho, 21-9, 22-20 in 41 minutes.
In the other four first elimination round matches held yesterday, Brazil’s Alison/Schmidt defeated Poland’s 15th-seeded Michal Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz in two sets, 21-19, 21-15 in 38 minutes; USA’s Gibb/Patterson used all the strength they could muster to hold off and eventually upset Brazil’s fifth-seeded Pedro Salgado/Emanuel Rego, 21-19, 18-21 and 18-16 in 57 minutes in a center court match held beneath the setting sun that enthused spectators didn’t want to end; Germany’s Erdmann/Matysik went three sets before edging Brazil’s 19th-seeded Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves, 16-21, 21-19 and 17-15 in 53 minutes and Switzerland’s Gabathuler/ Gerson battled to the bitter end to pull out a three-set win over Netherlands’ 18th-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, 34-36, 21-19 and 15-10 in one hour, six minutes.
The losers in the knockout round of 24 were eliminated and leave Klagenfurt with official 17th-place finishers and purses of $7,000 per team.
Following their crowd pleasing, thrilling three-set win over Brazil’s ever-popular Salgado/Emanuel to close the festivities Friday inside of center court, USA’s Gibb and Patterson spoke freely.
Said Gibb, “This tournament is absolutely amazing. We have had a real up and down year so far and we want nothing more than be on the podium this week. Tomorrow we are facing the Latvians Samoilovs/Smedins and it should be a very intense, spectacular match.”
The flamboyant Patterson, playing for the first time in Klagenfurt, praised Emanuel and the event, saying, “This is the best center court on the planet. Playing here, besides being married and having kids, this is the best experience of my life. Playing against Emanuel is an honor. I love playing against him, more than anyone else. He is more than a professional, he’s the best player in the world and at 41 years old he still jumps higher than most players. We played very, very good in this match and when you look at the set scores, you quickly see that it almost wasn’t good enough, but it was and we did win in front of the most amazing fans I have ever played in front of in my career. I’ve dreamed of playing on the Klagenfurt center court for years and I finally made it. It was even more amazing than I dreamed it would be.”
After his team’s final pool play win in front of the full house on center court Friday morning before his team won an elimination match against Brazil, Italy’s Nicolai said, “This has been our best match here in Klagenfurt until now, we improve our performance with every match. Austria’s Robin and Alexander are very good and backed by the audience which helps them even more. Psychologically, this is not easy at all. Anyway, it must be said that the fans in Klagenfurt are very fair, even towards the opposing teams. And to play in this atmosphere is simply a dream.”
The winners of seven of the eight pools Friday morning were undefeated with 3-0 records in round robin play as only two of the top eight-seeded teams won their pools and two pool winners came from the qualification tournament.
With 3-0 records to win their respective pools Friday morning were Poland’s second-seeded Prudel/Fijalek, Latvia’s fourth-seeded Samoilovs/Smedins, Austria’s ninth-seeded Doppler/Horst, Russia’s 11th-seeded Krasilnikov/Semenov, Netherlands’ 14th-seeded Stiekema/Varenhorst, Germany’s 17th-seeded Walkenhorst/Windscheif and Chile’s 28th-seeded M. Grimalt/E. Grimalt. With a 2-1 record and winning their pool on a tie-breaker was Kazakhstan’s 26th-seeded Dyachenko/Sidorenko. Both Kazakhstan’s Dyachenko/Sidorenko and Chile’s M. Grimalt/E. Grimalt advanced from the qualification tournament to the main draw.
Showing their celebrating, sun-soaked center court crowd with yet another Austrian serenade, Austria’s Doppler/Horst orchestrated their way past Brazil’s Ricardo/Filho in a mesmerizing melodic three-set stunning symphony of sand, 21-19, 26-28 and 15-11 in one hour, six minutes, the longest match of the tournament so far.
The inspiring win, which had their fellow Austrians in the packed Klagenfurt stadium center court on their feet for much of the match cheering, chanting and singing encouragement to the conductors of Austria’s newest symphony of sand, enabled Austria’s Doppler/Horst to win their pool with a perfect 3-0 match record. The symphonic win allowed the Austrian to have a bye in the first round of eliminations Friday afternoon to return to action Saturday morning in the round of 16.
Never at a loss for words, the Austrian duo even impressed themselves with their pool play performance, coming one year exactly since Doppler incurred a serious knee injury here in Klagenfurt at last year’s European championships.
Speaking first after several encores from the adoring fans that usually are held for maestros of the musical kind, Doppler said, “Our best result in Klagenfurt ever and we are still playing. Winning all three matches in pool play is an amazing feeling. Getting these wins shows that the route we chose was the correct one. This makes me extremely happy. Focusing and working hard every single day is starting to pay off for us.”
Horst added, “In my opinion, Ricardo is the best beach volleyball player of all times. Beating him with his new partner feels great. In the third set we managed to put together a string of three points with our blocking, defense and side out. We were really consistent, but it was really tough to win it.”
As the host nation, Austria has three men’s and three women’s teams automatically pre-seeded into the main draw. For the men, the Austrian teams in the main draw are Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst (3-0), Alexander Huber/Robin Seidl (1-2) and Tobias Winter/Lorenz Petutschnig (0-3). Austria’s Huber/Seidl and Winter/Petutschnig were eliminated after the pool play portion of the event while Austria’s Doppler/Horst are still playing..
FIVB PURSE, TOURNEY TOTALS
The FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam is the 308th FIVB men’s tournament since its first event in 1987 and the 272 FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992. Gold medal winning teams in each gender in Klagenfurt will split $57,000, silver will receive $43,000, bronze medalists get $32,000 and the fourth place finishers will earn $24,000 of the $800,000 total purse.
RETURN TO KLAGENFURT
This year is an unprecedented 17th time in the last 18 years that the Klagenfurt am Wörthersee site has hosted the international circuit. While the men’s world tour has been in Klagenfurt 16 straight times from 1997 through 2012 for this magical summer festival, the women’s world tour has been in Klagenfurt for 12 consecutive years from 2001 through 2012.
Arguably the most popular event of many ‘favorite’ events on the FIVB World Tour, the Klagenfurt venue features a purpose-built 8,000-seat stadium center court and massive two-story VIP hospitality area and private dock along with another private players dock alongside the shores of spectacularly beautiful Lake Woerth in western Klagenfurt, which is located in Southern Austria.