Warsaw, Poland, June 29, 2018 – Spanish veteran Pablo Herrera Allepuz celebrated his 36th birthday in the best possible way on Friday in Warsaw – by claiming two victories alongside his long-time partner Adrian Gavira Collado to advance to Saturday’s second round of single elimination at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour four-star event taking place in the Polish capital this week.
In the women’s tournament the second round was already played on Friday and all the quarterfinalists are now known.
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Two American and two Brazilian teams are among the eight pairs that advanced to the women’s quarterfinals. USA’s Brittany Hochevar and Kelly Claes delivered a hard-earned 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) shutout of Russia’s Svetlana Kholomina and Nadezda Makroguzova in a tough second-round match.
“We had a clear game plan. There was a lot of wind and it was changing, so there was a lot of good communication. We just stayed really focused and executed the plays at the right times, cause that’s a very tough Russian team,” Hochevar commented.
“We love travelling around the world and playing at amazing places,” Claes added. “The weather has been great and the venue is great. It’s so much fun and we are happy to be here.”
The other US pair, Nicole Branagh and Kerri Walsh Jennings, persevered through as many as three matches on Friday, but won all three and made it to the quarters. In their last pool game, they cruised to a 2-0 (21-12, 21-12) win over China’s Xinxin Wang and Bing Bai. In the first round, they knocked out compatriots Sara Hughes and Summer Ross with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) defeat. Their second-round match was a challenging encounter with third-seeded Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Carolina Solberg Salgado. The final score of 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) was fixed only after Carol twisted an ankle and her team had to forfeit the game.
Second-seeded Brazilians Barbara Seixas De Freitas and Fernanda Alves had to work hard to beat Germany’s Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider by 2-1 (24-22, 18-21, 15-12) in the only three-setter of the second round, while sixth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa - Duda, also of Brazil, crushed the home fans’ last remaining hope for a Polish women’s team in the quarterfinals with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) win over Kinga Kolosinska and Katarzyna Kociolek.
Spain’s Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan upset top-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) straight-setter, but fourth-seeded Canadians Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson are still in contention after hammering out a 2-0 (21-14, 21-14) win over China’s Fan Wang and Xinyi Xia.
Germany’s Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude went past Dutch wild cards Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-14) victory, also joined into the quarterfinals by last week’s Ostrava gold medallists, fifth-seeded Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic, who beat Brazil’s Josemari Alves and Liliane Maestrini by 2-0 (21-13, 21-11).
Herrera and Gavira had to play for survival in the Pool F third place match against Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs. Despite the many Latvian fans on the stands rooting for the opponents, the Spaniards persevered through a hard-fought tie-breaker for a 2-1 (21-14, 18-21, 15-13) win. In the first round they had to disappoint the Polish fans as well claiming a 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) victory over Mariusz Prudel and Jakub Szalankiewicz.
Still, the Polish crowd helped push another two home teams into the second round. Top-seeded Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak managed a 2-0 (21-16, 23-21) shutout of Lithuania’s Lukas Kazdailis and Arnas Rumsevicius, while Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl continued with their three-setter routine from Thursday and hammered out a 2-1 (24-26, 21-10, 15-12) turnaround against Dutchmen Christiaan Varenhorst and Jasper Bouter.
“Yes, third tie-breaker in a row, but these tie-breakers build us as a team. We are happy to win and we hope that in the next days we will play much easier,” Fijalek commented. “We have a lot of Polish fans, friends, colleagues and family here and for us this is a big motivation to play well and to win, and I hope that all Polish teams will play well and will play tomorrow. A Polish final in the end? It’s my dream. We can do everything that we can, but it is not easy to play at this level. Every game is really tough and we must be concentrated every second in order to play better and better.”
Canada’s Grant O'Gorman and Ben Saxton, Cuba’s Diaz Gomez Nivaldo Nadir and Sergio Reynaldo Gonzalez Bayard, Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs, Norway’s Anders Berntsen Mol and Christian Sandlie Sorum and Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan are the other five teams that won their first round matches and will be facing the winners of the pools in the second round on Saturday morning.