12.08.2021 - Vienna, Austria
The Red Bull Beach Arena staged the first duel involving women’s teams that played in the Tokyo Olympics at the A1 CEV EuroBeachVolley Vienna 2021 presented by Swatch and Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam were the ones to remain alive in the tournament.
The Dutch, who were the youngest team to compete in beach volleyball in Tokyo, defeated Italians Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth 2-1 (19-21, 21-14, 15-13) in the Round of 24 to secure a top-ten finish in their first appearance at the EuroBeachVolley. It was the third meeting between the teams in just three months and the Dutch now have a 2-1 lead – but all matches went to three sets.
“We started the match well, but our level dropped a bit during the first set and they were playing more comfortable,” the 19-year-old Schoon said. “We got back to our level during the second set and kept it during the third. I’m proud that we were able to come back. They’re a strong team and there’s no way you can beat them if you don’t play well.”
Schoon and Stam are now set to a familiar Round of 16 meeting with compatriots Marleen van Iersel and Pleun Ypma, guaranteeing at least one Dutch team in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Vienna.
“We played them about six weeks ago in that match that qualified us to the Olympics, but the scenario will be completely different now,” Stam added. “I think both teams will have to deal with less pressure and nerves this time. We need to start the same way we did today and just be aggressive and don’t give up if a couple of plays don’t go our way. If we do that, I’m confident we can win again.”
In the only Round of 24 duel that reunited teams from the same country, Barbora Hermannová and Marie-Sara Stochlová prevailed over fellow Czechs Michala Kvapilová and Martina Willians in straight sets (21-18, 21-14). They will now play 2019 EuroBeachVolley champions and Tokyo 2020 Olympic semifinalists Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka in the Round of 16.
There was an interesting storyline leading to the match as Stochlová and Williams typically play together (and even won a World Tour one-star event just ten days ago), but were invited to fill in for Hermannová’s and Kvapilová’s unavailable partners Maketa Sluková and Michaela Kubicková in the EuroBeachVolley.
“It’s always a mix of feelings when you get to continue in the tournament but also eliminate another team from your country,” Hermannová, who won the 2018 Vienna Major, said. “But we’re really happy to move forward, this tournament has already been a success for us. To me, it’s really nice to build some more great memories here in Vienna.”
Germans Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider also made in to the Round of 16 after they downed Russians Mariia Bocharova and Maria Voronina in straight sets (21-12, 21-12). They will now play the Ukrainian twins Inna and Iryna Makhno.
A two-set (21-18, 21-16) victory over Finland’s Niina Ahtiainen and Riikka Lehtonen has also pushed Polish Kinga Wojtasik and Katazyna Kociolek to the Round of 16. The 2019 EuroBeachVolley silver medalists will now meet Switzerland’s Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli.