Doppler/Horst topple Latvia at Yokohama Grand Slam

 Yokohama, Japan, July 24, 2015 – Austria’s Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst proceed to the quarterfinals at the 2015 FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam after beating Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 15-11). The double gender $800,000 FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam marks the first time both men and women have competed together in a FIVB World Tour event in Japan.
Doppler/Horst earned a bye into the second round knock-outs where they met Samoilevs/Smedins J. who enter Yokohama off the back of a silver medal at the Gstaad Major Series.

Austria’s turn

Doppler/Horst had met Samoilovs/Smedins J. in the same round of the Gstaad Major Series where Latvia had taken the win, but Yokohama was Austria’s turn. As thunder rumbled in the distance, conditions cooled as they took to the courts, but were no less humid.

Austria had the upper hand in the first with an effective Doppler cross-court slam at set point. Latvia gave Doppler/Horst a hard time in the second with a huge Austrian hit received by Smedins chest and leading to an impressive Latvian point. Both teams proved their position within the world tour in the third, but it was Austria who was the stronger of the day 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 15-11).

“Of course it’s a very important win for us, very important points for the Olympic qualification. It’s a very strong team, we played them in Gstaad in the same round and we lost a close game 2-0 and now we won, so it’s very equal. All the teams are very tight and we’re happy that today we played a little bit better,” said Doppler.

“I think we played a really good game. The first set and third set I think we almost no side-out mistakes. We served quite well and of course we knew that they are a really good team, they made the final last week in Gstaad and they were number one the last two years I think in the world tour so we’re really proud that we can win it again against them and now we’re looking forward to the next game,” said Horst.

Turkey’s Volkan Gögtepe/Murat Giginoglu knocked out number two seeded Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior/Pedro Solberg 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) to meet Doppler/Horst in the quarterfinals.

“I think we play Turkey so we played them in the pool and won a close 2-1, but as Clemens said everything is so close together that everybody can beat everybody and we will see,” said Horst.

Canada continue  

Chaim Schalk/Ben Saxton from Canada knew they had a match on their hands with Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo, but Schalk/Saxton continued with their good form in Yokohama to earn a spot in the final eight.

Careful play by both sides took the first set to 22-20 finished with a big Saxton serve at set point. Ever clever placement from Lupo challenged the Canadians and the match was sent into the tie-break. Schalk/Saxton took the chances to convert from their set plays and Nicolai’s big hits were not enough to save the match, 2-1 (22-20, 19-21, 15-11).

“Obviously we feel pretty happy, every win is good out here, it’s hard to win any game – especially winning this late in the tournament it’s good, it’s nice getting to the quarterfinals,” said Saxton.

“It was a good game, a really good side-out game. They’re a really big team with a good block defence and we sided-out really well and put them under just enough pressure to get a few more points than they did. It was great match and we’re really happy about it,” said Schalk.

In the quarterfinal Schalk/Saxton will face favourites Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst from the Netherlands on July 25.

“We play the Dutch guys, we played them already once this tournament and we want to just keep doing what we’re doing. We’ve got to focus on our stuff and just play our style and we’ll give ourselves a good shot. We want to make that semi,” said Schalk.

With Nummerdor/Varenhorst advancing to the final eight, the Netherlands is the only country to advance a team to every quarterfinal this season with 10 total appearances by two teams. Canada and Austria have four quarterfinal appearances each.

This year’s FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam will be the third of five double-gender FIVB Grand Slams, each with a total purse of $800,000, on the FIVB World Tour 2015. Seven FIVB men’s only events were held in Japan from 1989-1995 with six being held in Enoshima and one in Yokohama in 1991. A total of 14 women’s only events were held in Osaka from 1994-2005 and in 2008 and 2009.

Japan has hosted a total of 21 FIVB World Tour events (seven men, 14 women) with the United States leading the medal count for men and Brazil dominating the medal tally for women.

Following the Yokohama Grand Slam the 2015 FIVB World Tour will have a three-week break before resuming in the United States with the double-gender FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in Southern California set for August 18-23.


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