Sydney, Australia, November 23, 2017 – The home crowd on Manly Beach was delighted to see all four of Australia’s pairs advance to the round of 16 at the men's Sydney two-star event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
Three teams from France, two from New Zealand and one each from Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, Latvia, Serbia, Slovenia and USA also made a successful run through Thursday’s pool play to stay in contention for spots in the quarterfinals.
Top-seeded Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann won both their matches in Pool A in straight sets – 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) against Italy’s Andrea Abbiati and Tiziano Andreatta and 2-0 (21-13, 21-16) against France’s Olivier Barthelemy and Romain Di Giantommaso. However, both of these opponents also made it to the best 16.
Despite losing the first set in the winners’ clash in Pool E against France’s Maxime Thiercy and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat, Australians Paul Burnett and Joshua Court came back for a hard-fought 2-1 (18-21, 22-20, 15-13) victory to also top the pool standings as both sides move forward in the competition.
Another home team, third-seeded Cole Durant and Zachery Schubert, could not match that feat and lost the tie-breaker set in the winners’ duel with USA’s William Kolinske and Miles Evans in Pool C – 1-2 (21-16, 19-21, 11-15). Joining these two pairs in the eighthfinals from this pool are Slovenia’s Nejc Zemljak and Danijel Pokersnik.
William Kolinske against Nejc Zemljak at the net
“It was a tough day! We won one and lost one. I am only 21 and I will learn from today. I want to be the best in the world. As a boy, who grew up on a farm, for me the only thing that comes close to the high you get from winning in sports is maybe a good harvest on the farm!” Zac Schubert said.
The fourth Australian duo, wildcards Marcus Ferguson and Maximilian Guehrer, started off with a three-set 1-2 (14-21, 21-14, 6-15) loss to second-seeded Ben Saxton and Grant O'Gorman from Canada, but then persevered to win the decisive tie-breaker in the losers’ match against Austria’s Florian Schnetzer and Daniel Muellner for a 2-1 (21-17, 15-21, 15-13) win and a spot in the round of 16. Saxton and O’Gorman topped their Pool B after a 2-0 (21-13, 21-18) shutout of New Zealand’s Michael Watson and Thomas Hartles.
Serbia’s Lazar Kolaric and Djordje Klasnic showed their class in Pool D. They upset the fourth-seeded Frenchmen Youssef Krou and Quincy Aye with a 2-1 (11-21, 21-19, 15-13) come-from-behind victory in this pool’s winners’ match.
Djordje Klasnic rejoices after a winning rally
In Pool F, three teams advanced to the single elimination stage of the main draw. New Zealand’s Rene Kapa and Morgan Seymour won both of their matches in straight sets – 2-0 (21-19, 21-12) against Latvia’s Rihards Finsters and Aleksandrs Solovejs and 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) against Czech Republic’s Jan Dumek and Vaclav Bercik as both of these opponents moved forward as well.