11.08.2021 - Vienna, Austria
The Red Bull Beach Arena is the place to be on the opening day of the A1 CEV EuroBeachVolley Vienna 2021 presented by Swatch for both fans and players, especially those coming from the Tokyo Olympics.
After competing in the greatest stage of international sports without supporters on the stands, the elite of European beach volleyball is having a blast with the always energetic Austrian fans, who made their presence felt right from the first match in Vienna.
Swiss Tanja Hüberli and Nina Betstchart, who finished ninth in Tokyo, are among the ones who are enjoying the great energy in the Austrian capital.
“We were really excited to come to Vienna because we know it is always a great atmosphere here,” Hüberli said. “We were really happy when we heard that we were going to play on the Red Bull Beach Arena and we hope we get another chance to play in here, we love it."
The Swiss, who took bronze at the 2018 EuroBeachVolley, had an amazing first day in Vienna with two wins. First, they defeated Norwegians Ane Guro Tveit Hjortland and Sunniva Helland-Hansen with 2-1 (16-21, 21-10, 15-9) in one of the A1 5G Side Courts. But they didn’t stop there and later dominated Germans Kim Behrens and Sandra Ittlinger in straight sets (21-16, 21-13) at the Red Bull Beach Arena to win Pool C.
“It was great to start with two wins, especially after the Olympics when we had a really disappointing loss so we really wanted to go all in and have fun”, added Betschart.
Latvians Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka, who finished fourth in Tokyo to be the second-best European team in the Games, are also enjoying the festive atmosphere in Vienna. The two played in front of fans at both the A1 5G Side Courts and the Red Bull Beach Arena on Wednesday and defeated both France’s Alexia Richard/Lezana Placette (21-17, 21-17) and Poland’s Kinga Wojtasik/Katarzyna Kociolek (21-18, 21-16) to top pool D.
“Vienna is every time a big beach volleyball event and a big celebration for players and fans,” Kravcenoka said. “I already can feel this atmosphere. I have goosebumps having our fans here. At the Olympics we had only our Olympic team and only a few people in the stands, so having people cheering on you is extremely positive feeling and it gives more energy to play.”
Other EuroBeachVolley pool winners who competed in Tokyo were Germany’s Karla Borger/Julia Sude on Pool E and the Netherlands’ Sanne Keizer/Madelein Meppelink on Pool F. Russian Svetlana Kholomina, who played in Japan with Nadezda Makroguzova but is partnering with Ksenia Dabizha in Vienna, topped Pool B.
Also advancing directly to the Round of 16 were the Netherlands’ Marleen van Iersel/Pleun Ypma on Pool A and Germany's Chantal Laboureur and Cinja Tillmann on Pool G.
The winners of Pool H will be determined in the last match of the day, which will reunite Austrians Katharina Schützenhöfer and Lena Plesiutsching and the Ukrainian twins Inna and Iryna Makhno at the Red Bull Beach Arena.