Unstoppable Norwegian duo Anders Mol and Christian Sorum remain the team to beat at the 2019 CEV European Beach Volleyball Championships. On Saturday, the field narrowed to just four teams remaining heading into Sunday’s semifinals and medal rounds.
MEN'S SEMIFINAL SCHEDULE (Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019)
Mol and Sorum faced Germany’s Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler in the quarterfinals, a rematch of the World Championships semifinals last month, in which Thole and Wickler upset the top-ranked Norwegians. This time, however, Mol and Sorum won, 21-17, 21-15, getting one step closer to repeating as European champions.
“We really wanted the revenge for the World Championship semifinal,” Mol said. “We knew we had to bring our best game, we had to serve good, because if these guys can pass and receive like they always do, then they are really hard to beat. Today we put a lot of pressure on the serve and it worked.”
Sorum echoed Mol’s sentiment about the importance of serving. “I think Anders had really good spike serves today. He has been serving float serve for most of the tournament, but today he made the difference.”
The Norweigan pair will face seventh seeded Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland in the semis. The two teams have played each other three times previously, with the Poles holding a 2-1 lead in the series. Mol and Sorum, however, won the most recent meeting at the Itapema Four Star earlier this season.
Kantor and Losiak defeated the Dutch duo Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer 18-21, 21-17, 15-11 in their quarterfinal.
The opposite semifinal will feature the home team Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov of Russia taking on the tournament’s Cinderella team, Martin Ermacora and Moritz Pristauz-Telsnigg of Austria. The No. 23 seeded Ermacora and Pristauz-Telsnigg upset Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy of Russia, the No. 2 seed in the tournament and the reigning World Championships silver medalists, in the second round, before downing the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner Czech in the quarters.
“It is hard to realize, we just made it to the semis of the European Championship, we were seeded 23th here in Moscow,” Pristauz-Telsnigg said. “This is kind of a fairytale for us. We played against the Czech, before the season and here in the pools, we lost two times. So, when we saw the draw, we thought that during the first game against them here we weren’t focused enough.”
“We knew that we can beat them if we take our chances and I think we did so,” Ermacora added. “We needed a comfortable leading, because in the end it was always tied score. Our coach gives us great tactics. We hope to bring home a medal, to enjoy the games tomorrow and to confirm that we are the new generation of Austrian beach volleyball.”
Semenov and Leshukov started the 2018-19 FIVB season off with a victory in Yangzhou, China, and have since added two bronze medals on the World Tour. In Moscow, they had to get through three-time European champions Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy, whom the Russians defeated 21-17, 22-20 in the quarters.
“We made too many errors during the sets,” Nicolai said. “They have a great motivation, being at home also help. In the end, they were a little bit better than us and could win.”
“I am very happy and I would like to thank to the fans for the support, they helped us a lot today,” Leshukov said. “They motivated us, we played with a no minute of relax for them—they were our third player on the court!”
Watch the semifinals and medal rounds matches on Sunday right here on FloVolleyball. The schedule is below.