French duo hold off fightback to reach Hague main draw

The Hague, Netherlands, January 4, 2018 – Maxime Thiercy and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat needed to stay focused till the end of their qualifying match to progress to the main draw at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, Dela Beach Open on Thursday.

The French pair started slowly, but fought back to beat Serbia’s Djordje Kolaric and Lazar Klasnic 2-1 (12-21, 21-14, 16-14) at the indoor arena at Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague.

They held two match points from 14-11, but Kolaric and Klasnic fought back to draw level at 14-14. Thiercy and Gauthier-Rat refocused and after they secured a third match point, Gauthier-Rat’s deft touch over Kolaric at the net won the match. 

“We know this team never give up and always manage to fight as they are good fighters,” Gauthier-Rat said. “Even at 14-11 at the end we knew that the match wasn’t over until the last ball hit the court.

“Their blocker got up on Max twice and that made it very tense.”

Thiercy and Gauthier-Rat will now face Qatar’s Ahmed Tijan and Cherif Younousse in their first pool play match. The main draw is set to start later on Thursday. 

They were one of eight teams to progress to the main draw after the completion of the qualification rounds. 

Also through are William Kolinske and Miles Evans. The US pair beat Dutch duo Ruben Penninga and Tom van Stennis 2-0 (21-17, 21-10) to progress. 

This is their first 4-Star World Tour event together, though they have happy memories of the Netherlands after they won silver at the Aalsmeer 1-Star tournament in October 2017. They also collected a bronze from the Sydney 2-Star event in November. 

“The Netherlands are a very good team and they got on us early,” Kolinske said. “They are a tough opponent, but I’m happy to battle with this guy (Evans) and come back and get the win.”

For more information on the tournament, click here


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