The Hague, The Netherlands, June 17, 2017 - It has been a very successful Saturday for Switzerland as the men’s team of Nico Beeler/Marco Krattiger posted a pair of wins to advance to the semi-finals of the US$150,000 Dela Beach Open where a women’s pair from the European country advanced to the “final four” with a morning victory.
Seeded 20th in the FIVB World Tour Main Draw, Beeler and Krattiger will meet seventh-seeded Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin of Russia here Saturday evening after posting wins earlier in the day over two Brazilian pairs that had defeated the young Swiss team in mid-February at the Fort Lauderdale Major in the United States.
The Russians also won twice Saturday highlighted by a quarter-final win over top-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands 2-0 (21-16, 21-14) in 32 minutes. Krasilnikov and Liamin will be playing Beeler and Krattiger for the second-time this season with an earlier victory over the Swiss four months ago on Kish Island in Iran.
The other men's semi-final match features 11th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy versus sixth-seeded Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain. Saturday’s winning teams will play Sunday for the gold medal where the Dela Beach Open champions will split the $10,000 first-place prize.
“Those two wins are amazing as we lost to both Brazilian pairs in Fort Lauderdale,” said the 24-year old Beeler. “I think we benefited due to the conditions of playing matches both outdoor and indoors. We are also pleased since we did not qualify for the Main Draw in our last two events in Rio and Moscow, so reaching semi-finals is very satisfying.”
With the Dela Beach Open being the “most unique” event in the 30-year history of the FIVB World Tour due to matches being played on both outdoor and indoor courts, the Swiss successes Saturday started early when 17th-seeded Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre posted a 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) quarter-final win in 30 minutes over fifth-seeded Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat of the United States.
Joana Heidrich (left) and Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland
Beeler and Krattiger took over after that victory by eliminating third-seeded Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho 2-1 (25-27, 23-21, 15-10) in 55 minutes and fifth-seeded Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg 2-1 (16-21, 21-14, 15-11) in 44 minutes to advance to their first FIVB “final four” in seven World Tour events together.
In the Fort Lauderdale Major, Guto and Pedro scored a 2-0 (21-19, 21-14) pool play win in 37 minutes over the Swiss pair while Alvaro and Saymon ousted Beeler and Krattiger in the second-round of elimination bracket play with a 2-0 (21-12, 21-19) win in 34 minutes.
With Swiss teams in both the Dela Beach Open men’s and women’s semi-finals, it marks the second-time in the history of the FIVB World Tour that Switzerland has accomplished the feat. The first was five years ago to the day when Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr captured the gold medal at a 2012 FIVB World Tour stop in Rome where Sebastian Chevallier and Sascha Heyer teamed to win the third spot on the podium in the Italian capital.
Switzerland is one of only 12 countries that has had men’s and women’s teams in the semi-finals at the same events. Brazil is the all-time leader with 163 appearances by the two genders in the semi-finals at the same event followed by the United States (79), Germany (21), China (7), The Netherlands (7), Italy (5), Australia (4), Austria (3), Canada (3), Russia (2), Switzerland (2) and Poland (1).