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Thole and Wickler get Olympic revenge in Vienna

12.08.2021 - Vienna, Austria

The Germans defeated Italians Lupo and Nicolai, who had beat them in Tokyo two weeks ago

Oleg Stoyanovskiy had warned us that several teams coming for the A1 CEV EuroBeachVolley Vienna 2021 presented by Swatch from the Tokyo Olympics would be looking for revenge at the Austrian capital.

Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler, who played the Russian in the final of the 2019 World Championships, were the first to accomplish it. Just two weeks after losing in a close tie-breaker to Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai a the Shiokaze Park Stadium, the Germans got payback with a 2-1 (18-21, 21-12, 17-15) victory that helped them winning Pool F and advancing directly to the Round of 16 in Vienna.

“The Italians are really difficult to play against and we love these matches,” Thole said. “They put a lot of pressure on their opponents and Nicolai is really good at the net, he always gets a lot of blocks. I’m very happy we won it and finished first on our pool.”

Thole and Wickler, who had defeated fellow Germans Alexander Walkenhorst and Sven Winter in straight sets (21-12, 21-19) in their opening match in the tournament, were one of eight teams to have won the pool in the opening day of the men’s tournament Vienna.

“It’s really cool to play in front of the fans again,” Wickler commented. “Here in Vienna we get a fantastic atmosphere on the side courts but we’re really looking forward to playing on the Red Bull Beach Arena. It was fantastic to see a lot of German fans supporting us here.”

Reigning Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sørum of Norway were also in the group after they downed France’s Quincy Aye and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat in three sets (21-14, 18-21, 15-9) and Austrians Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller in two (21-13, 23-21) to top Pool A.

Dutch Christiaan Varenhorst and Steven van de Velde caused the biggest upset of the day when they defeated Russians Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Viacheslav Krasilnikov, the silver medalists of Tokyo, in three sets (21-12, 20-22, 15-12) to win Pool G. Earlier, they had prevailed in another three-setter (21-18, 25-27, 15-12) over Italians Jakob Windisch and Samuele Cottafava.

Other pool winners were the Netherland’s Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, Russia’s Nikita Liamin/Taras Myskiv, Spain’s Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira, Belgium's Dries Koekelkoren/Tom van Walle and Czech Republic's Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner.