Mersin, Turkey, May 2, 2018 – Mirco Gerson and Adrian Heidrich were pushed hard in the Mersin 3-Star qualifying rounds, but they drove themselves through the pain barrier to progress to the main draw on Wednesday.
The Swiss pair defeated the Ukrainians Sergiy Popov and Vladyslav Iemelianchyk 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 15-13), one of eight men’s teams that progressed to the main draw.
The match came to a dramatic conclusion when Heidrich required attention for cramp. However, after being checked over he was able to wrap up the two points needed to win and then was rewarded with a dip in the crystal blue Mediterranean that laps the venue on Turkey’s southern coast.
“It was a tough game,” Gerson said. “They beat us in Kish in the 3-Star tournament in the first round and we wanted to take revenge and we did it.
“The big man cramped in the final set at 13-13, but we came through it and it is the third time in a row that we have gone through qualification, twice in a 4-Star and once in a 3-Star.”
In the women’s Marta Menegatti and Laura Giombini were among the eight teams who qualified for the main draw.
The Italians are back together having played in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games and Toronto 2016 FIVB World Tour Finals together, but played with different partners in 2017.
Their familiarity on court shone through in their fourth World Tour event since they teamed up in December, and helped them to a 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) victory over Germany’s Teresa Mersmann and Cinja Tillman.
“It wasn’t at all simple,” Menegatti said. “Qualifying matches are always difficult and it is a case of live or die. We played very well and enjoyed ourselves a lot as you could see. We always believed in ourselves even when we went behind in the second set.
“They are a good team and it made a very good match to watch I’d say.”