29/06/2019 22:00
Sweden still in contention for home gold at #EuroBeachVolleyU20
CEV U20 Beach Volleyball European Championships 2019

Göteborg, Sweden, June 29, 2019. On Saturday, teams from as many as seven countries qualified for the semis of the CEV U20 Beach Volleyball European Championships 2019 – with the Netherlands the only nation boasting a semi-finalist in the men’s as well as in the women’s competition. Teams from Italy, Russia and Spain complete the field for the women’s semis – as Sweden’s Joel Andersson/Alfred Brink keep the dream of home glory well alive in the men’s tournament, where Germany and Cyprus took the other semi-final spots. Make sure you follow the semis and medal matches coming up on Sunday through the CEV’s very own OTT platform EuroVolleyTV!

Kicking off the Round of 24 on Saturday in Göteborg were Sweden’s Sofia Andersson/Evelina Granberg and Denmark’s Clara Windeleff/Astrid Elisabeth Mellmølle. Denmark managed to stop the Swedish girls in two straight sets with the final numbers 21-13, 21-13. Following in Denmark’s footsteps were Anhelina Khmil/Tetiana Lazarenko from Ukraine, as they advanced to the next round after beating Sweden’s Filippa Brink/Rebecka Dahlgren 21-19, 21-7.

Yorick de Groot/Matthew Immers from the Netherlands dominated the first set against Czech Republic’s Patrik Manas/Jiri Sedlak, closing it 21-9. In the second set, Manas/Sedlak showed that they would not give up without a fight and pressured their opponents up until the very last points, but de Groot/Immers kept their cool and could move on to the Round of 16 after a 21-19 win.

The Russian favourites Dmitrii Veretiuk/Denis Shekunov did not manage to top their pool on Friday and had to take a little detour through the Round of 24 before further advancement. Turkey’s Yusuf Ozdemir/Ali Cebeci made the Russians work for it and took the game to a tiebreak. In the end, a huge block from Veretiuk ended the last set 15-12.

The Round of 16 saw some intense battles and provided many emotions as eight out of sixteen games went to a tiebreak. On the women’s side, Czech Republic’s Kylie Neuschaeferova and Michaela Brinkova fought hard against Daniela Álvarez Mendoza/Tania Moreno Matveeva from Spain, who eventually won the tiebreak 15-6. The Slovenian boys Crtomir Bošnjak/Rok Mozic played an aggressive first set against Javier Bello/Joaquin Bello of England, with many big spikes impressing the crowds. In the second set, the Bello brothers put on a blocking clinic and stopped the game from ending just yet. Slovenia got a head start in the tiebreak and could eventually put the last ball in the sand at 15-7.

The Italians Tobia Marchetto/Alberto Di Silvestre looked a bit frustrated when Hungary’s Artúr Hajós/Bence Attila Stréli started out in a convincing manner, taking home the first set 21-15. Marchetto/Di Silvestre managed to find some momentum in the second set and forced the game to a tiebreak. “The first set we started very anxiously,” Marchetto said, “in the second set we played much better and Hungary did not play as good”. In the decisive set, both teams looked strong and in the end Italy got the best out of Hungary and the final numbers were 17-15. “In the third set I think both teams played really well. It feels fantastic to win the game because we started this tournament not very well in the first game against Sweden. It was very important for me to win some games and start to play better,” Marchetto continued. “Now we will look at Cyprus’ game and I think if we play well, we have a good chance”.

Hanna Hellvig/Isabelle Reffel, being the only Swedish women’s team left in the tournament, tried to keep their winning streak from Thursday and Friday as Denmark entered the centre court to try and stop them. Sweden got off to a good start and took the lead, but some great service pressure from Mellmølle tied the game at 13-13. Eventually Hellvig/Reffel managed to gain control over the game again and closed it 21-17, 21-15, moving into the quarterfinals against Italy’s Claudia Scampoli/Nicol Bertozzi. “The game felt quite solid for us, we did our thing and everything just worked. In the next game we are going to focus on the basics and try to be aggressive,” the Swedish girls said after beating Denmark. The Italians, however, proved to be too big of a challenge for the Swedish team, as they showed a wide range of offensive and defensive plays. Scampoli/Bertozzi will be playing in the semi-finals against Raïsa Schoon/Emi van Driel from the Netherlands on Sunday.

The quarterfinal between Daniela Álvarez Mendoza/Tania Moreno Matveeva from Spain and Julie Honzovicova/Lucie Sulcova from Czech Republic was a real crowd pleaser with long rallies and plays. Spain closed the game with the smallest margin possible, 28-26, 23-21. On Sunday, they will play Russia’s Mariia Bocharova/Maria Voronina in the semi-finals. The Russians defeated Greece in two straights set in their quarterfinal. “It was a little bit windy and the Greek team is a very good team, very strong. It was hard but we did it,” the Russians said after the game. “We are ready for tomorrow.”