Montpellier, France, September 8, 2017 – An abundance of tie-breaker matches was observed on the first main draw day of the men-only one-star Montpellier stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour as the four semifinalists emerged from the sand battles at the Helios Theatre of the Odysseum Commercial Centre on Friday.
Four of the eight first round matches and all four quarterfinals were resolved after three sets of play, as home favourites Youssef Krou and Quincy Aye were joined by pairs from the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Serbia in winning two tie-breaker games apiece to qualify for the medal matches on Saturday.
France’s Krou and Aye started off with a tough 2-1 (15-21, 21-19, 16-14) nail-biter against Italy’s Marco Caminati and Enrico Rossi in the first round and followed up with a 2-1 (21-14, 17-21, 15-13) quarterfinal victory over Austria’s Florian Schnetzer and Daniel Muellner.
Slovenia’s Nejc Zemljak and Jan Pokersnik battled it out against Frenchmen Tanguy Lomba and Olivier Barthelemy for a 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 15-11) win before persevering through the longest lasting match of the day – a 54-minute 2-1 (25-23, 16-21, 15-12) victory over Russia’s Maksim Hudyakov and Ruslan Bykanov.
Nejc Zemljak in defence
Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner from the Czech Republic took off with a 2-1 (23-21, 18-21, 15-18) win against qualifiers Ruben Penninga and Tom van Steenis and then delivered a 2-1 (18-21, 21-18, 15-13) upset of the top-seeded Norwegians Anders Berntsen Mol and Christian Sandlie Sorum in the quarterfinals.
Ondrej Perusic setting the ball
Lazar Kolaric and Djordje Klasnic from Serbia, who advanced to the main draw after a three-set win in the last qualification round on Thursday, made it three tie-breakers in a row to become the most pleasant surprise among the semifinalists. They cleared their way to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 (8-21, 24-22, 15-8) come-from-behind upset of the French hopefuls Arnaud Loiseau and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat. In the last match of the day Kolaric and Klasnic knocked out the other Norwegian duo, second-seeded Mathias Berntsen and Svein Oddmund Solhaug, with a 2-1 (18-21, 21-15, 15-11) win to complete the semifinal line-up.
Lazar Kolaric in reception
In the first semifinal, at 12.00 local time on Saturday, Zemljak and Pokersnik will face Kolaric and Klasnic. An hour later, Perusic and Schweiner will lock horns with Krou and Aye for the remaining spot in the final. The bronze medal match is scheduled for 15.00, followed by the gold medal game at 16.00.