14.08.2021 - Vienna, Austria
Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen’s attempt to win a second-straight medal at the Olympics in Tokyo ended at the hands of Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sørum, but the Dutch didn’t have to wait long to get a chance for revenge as the teams are set to meet in the semifinals of the A1 CEV EuroBeachVolley Vienna 2021 presented by Swatch on Sunday.
The Dutch fought their way to the semifinals with a close victory against the sensations of the tournament, Germans Nils Ehlers and Lukas Pfretzschner, who pushed the Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalists and 2013 world champions to three sets (21-19, 13-21, 15-11) in the quarterfinals.
“It was such a tough match,” Meeuwsen said. “We kept fighting until the end but we couldn’t have done it without the fans. It’s absolutely impossible to look at all these fans in the stands and not give everything you have. We remained positive most of the time and believed things would go our way if we just kept fighting.”
The victory in front of a packed Red Bull Beach Arena has reinvigorated the Dutch, who after finishing ninth in Tokyo are ready to improve from the EuroBeachVolley bronze medals they won in 2017.
“Being in the top four means so much for us,” Brouwer added. “We are coming from a bad result at the Olympics and were really disappointed coming to Vienna. Our last practice before this tournament was terrible. But we leave the court today full of energy and proud to have played the way we wanted to play.”
In order to meet the Dutch, Mol and Sørum had to deny revenge to Russians Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov, who they also eliminated on their way to take gold in Tokyo. The Beach Volley Vikings had some early struggles, but came back to take the Russians down in three sets (18-21, 21-18, 15-8) and be just two victories away from an unprecedented fourth-straight EuroBeachVolley title.
“It’s been some exhausting few weeks coming from the Olympics,” Mol said. “We’re trying to put everything behind and focus on the tournament here. We were completely blown away by the Russians on the first set and I have no idea how we turned things around. I just know that we wanted to be able to play more matches here and we fought for it.”
“I thought our batteries were over after the first set,” Sørum added. “But we felt the energy of the fans, who were screaming every time we switched sides, and just wanted to play better for them. Anders served really well on the third set and those points were really important for us.”