Montpellier, France, September 7, 2017 – Teams from France, the Netherlands, Russia and Serbia made the main draw at the men-only one-star Montpellier stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2018 after a successful run through both qualification rounds on Thursday at the Helios Theatre of the Odysseum Commercial Centre.
Host country France managed to add one more pair to the four that had already been seeded directly into the main draw. Adrian Caravano and Yann Faure had a very tough first match, but after 48 minutes of play persevered for a straight-set 2-0 (22-20, 24-22) win against Sweden’s Martin Appelgren and Alexander Herrmann. In the second qualification round the French duo pleased the home fans with a speedier 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) victory over England’s Matthew Hunter and Mark Garcia-Kidd and a spot in the main draw.
"We knew how to enjoy the opportunity. We were there at the right moment! I am happy for my partner, because this is his first World Tour," said Caravano after the last game.
Russia’s Maksim Hudyakov and Ruslan Bykanov won the longest match of the day. After a 53-minute battle against Spaniards Raul Mesa and Christian Garcia, they celebrated with a 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-7) win to follow up with a 2-0 (24-22, 21-13) victory over the top-seeded team in the qualification bracket, Philipp Arne Bergmann and Yannick Harms from Germany.
The other two qualifiers also played tight three-setters, but both in the second round. Serbia’s Lazar Kolaric and Djordje Klasnic started with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-18) shutout of Frenchmen Florian Gosselin and Martel Bosqui before qualifying for the main draw with a 51-minute 2-1 (21-14, 18-21, 15-13) victory over Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich and Michiel Zandbergen.
"Today's competition was really difficult for us, because we did not play at our best, but I am very proud to be in the main draw," said Kolaric.
Dutchmen Ruben Penninga and Tom van Steenis were the last to triumph with a crucial second-round win – 2-1 (21-18, 23-25, 15-13) after 52 minutes of play against Estonia’s Mart Tiisaar and Kusti Nolvak. In the first round, Penninga and van Steenis handed a 2-0 (21-14, 21-8) defeat to compatriots Pim Heurman and Thijs Nijeboer.
The 16-team single-elimination main draw tournament will take place on Friday and Saturday. “The World Tour is a universe where each point is important and, if you are not ready mentally, you will lose,” said Youssef Krou, the most experienced French player to take part. “You have to be strong in your head, if you want to win!”