Sydney, Australia, November 24, 2017 – Australia vs. France and USA vs. Canada are the two men’s semifinal fixtures at the Sydney two-star event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour after Friday’s two rounds of single elimination on Manly Beach.
Top-seeded Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann had to knock two pairs of fellow Australians out of the way to claim a spot in the semis. In the Round of 16 they mastered a 2-0 (21-14, 21-14) win against Marcus Ferguson and Maximilian Guehrer. Their quarterfinal clash with third-seeded Cole Durant and Zachery Schubert was way tougher. McHugh and Schumann lost the first set, but fought back to claim a 2-1 (12-21, 21-14, 15-12) victory.
“In the first set I thought it might have been beyond us, but to Chris’s credit he kept it really calm and we just took it one point at a time,” said a relieved Schumann.
“One of our strengths is to stay calm and keep soldiering under immense pressure. It was a great win for us,” added McHugh.
In the first semifinal on Saturday, at 12:30 local time, McHugh and Schumann will face France’s Youssef Krou and Quincy Aye. The fourth-seeded Frenchmen were very quick to dismiss both their opponents on Friday. First, they managed a 2-0 (21-13, 21-13) shutout of New Zealand’s Rene Kapa and Morgan Seymour and, then, cruised to a 2-0 (21-12, 21-13) victory over Latvia’s Rihards Finsters and Aleksandrs Solovejs.
USA’s William Kolinske and Miles Evans also made a fast run through the first two elimination rounds, without dropping a set. They started off with a 2-0 (21-12, 21-17) win against Italy’s Andrea Abbiati and Tiziano Andreatta. In the shortest running match of the day, the Americans hammered out a 29-minute 2-0 (21-14, 21-12) victory over Australia’s Paul Burnett and Joshua Court to advance to the semis.
William Kolinske about to jump for the block in the match against Italy
Kolinske and Evans will take to the court again for Saturday’s second semifinal, starting at 13:30, where they will lock horns with Ben Saxton and Grant O'Gorman from Canada. The second-seeded Canadians had a tough Friday, coming back from a set down in each of their two matches to win in three sets. In the eightfinals, Saxton and O’Gorman and Slovenia’s Nejc Zemljak and Danijel Pokersnik played a spectacular first set, which ran deep into the over-time, before the North Americans stormed to a 2-1 (34-36, 21-19, 15-10) win. In the quarterfinals, the Canadians lost the first set to France’s Maxime Thiercy and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat only to fight back again and fix a 2-1 (14-21, 21-14, 15-13) victory.
Ben Saxton serving against Slovenia
The two men’s semifinals on Saturday, as well as the bronze medal match and the big final, starting at 16:30 and 17:30 local time, respectively, will be streamed live on the FIVB’s YouTube channel