18/07/2018 22:45
Reigning champions suffer defeat at the hands of carefree Beeler/Krattiger in Utrecht
2018 CEV DELA Beach Volleyball European Championship

Utrecht, The Netherlands, July 17, 2018. Swiss hopefuls Nico Beeler and Marco Krattiger rode the wave of the Utrecht crowd on the Neude square to victory over defending champions Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai (ITA). In a high level match they beat the three-time champions in an action packed three-setter. The women’s pools D and E were sizzling with tension as they played their last pool matches. Germany and Switzerland advance to Round 2 and the Dutch duo of Van Gestel/Wesselink find themselves in the round of 24.

Once again the sold-out stadium in Utrecht played an important factor in the crucial stages of a tight match. Swiss Beeler/Krattiger and Italians Nicolai/Lupo had won a set each and as the third set proceeded, the 2,000 in attendance chose the side of the underdog. Playing point by point worked out for the Swiss couple and driven by increasing cheers, they managed to claim the victory.

Marco Krattiger: “I enjoyed so much playing here tonight. At one point in the second set the crowd was going crazy and I just wanted them to be louder and louder. We played some very nice rallies, we won some very nice rallies. It maybe gave us another ten percent which helped us win this match.” 

Paolo Nicolai: “They deserved to win, because they played better than we did. But we are still in the tournament and focussed on the gold.” 

The ‘ocean of orange’ had another reason to cheer tonight, wildcard contestants Sophie van Gestel and Marloes Wesselink turned out to be the third placed team in Pool D after all points were checked and balanced. The basis for that surprising outcome was laid in the noon match against Finland’s Taru Lahti-Liukkonen and Anniina Parkkinen. After losing the opening set 19-21, the home side found themselves pushed by a storm coming down from the stands. Intelligent play set this two defender team up for glory as they snatched the remaining sets 21-19 and 15-11.

Van Gestel and Wesselink will stay in Utrecht for the Round of 24, where they will face Borger/Kozuch (GER). Lahti-Liukkonen and Parkkinen join the Dutch in Round 1 despite losing both their matches on Wednesday. The Finns also will play a German team on Thursday, first ranked Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude. Latvia’s Anastasija Kravcenoka and Tina Graudina can now focus on the U22 European Championships which start next week in their home country.

Pool E saw Swiss Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli straight through to the eighth finals after they also converted their third match into victory. The remaining spots in Round 1 were filled by Austria’s Katharina Schützenhöfer/Lena Plesiutschnig and Spain’s Angela Lobato Herrero/Amaranta Fernández Navarro. The Austrians now find Czech Republic’s Martina Bonnerová/Sarka Nakladalova in their path and Spain face off with Alexandra Jupiter and Aline Chamereau of France.

This is how the competition is due to continue in the elimination phase following the Drawing of Lots held on Wednesday night in The Hague:

(click on the image to enlarge)

Click here for further information.

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