2017 FIVB BEACH VOLLEYBALL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – VIENNA
- July 28 to August 6
- Vienna Centre Court, Vienna, Austria
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No. 12 seed Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst are living the dream, playing with a shot at a medal at the Beach World Championships in their hometown after making the event semifinals on Saturday. The duo outlasted No. 7 seed Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland in a three-setter featuring a 33-31 opening set score in favor of the Polish.
“I said it yesterday but today was even tougher, the hardest game in my life because we knew if we take that step, we’re playing for the medals,” Doppler said. “We lost the first set with a set ball in our hands, very close. We came back in the second set, we were leading 8-3 in the third set. It was tough mentally to go to the end but it was possible.
“Our goal here was to go through the pool, our big goal was top 10 and now we’re playing for the medals in our hometown with this crowd. That’s once in your life. It’s the week of our life. Like I said before the tournament, if we have a good day, we can beat all of the teams, if we have a bad day, we can lose to all of them. It’s so tight between each team.”
Doppler carried the Austrians with 24 kills, seven blocks and an ace in the match. Horst chipped in 14 kills and two aces.
The Polish won the offensive battle 41-38 in kills with a balanced attack featuring 23 Losiak putaways and 18 by Kantor. The pair did struggle, however, committing 19 errors, including 12 service errors. The Austrians had 16 errors, including 12 from the service line, but limited their hitting miscues to just four, hitting at a 62 percent clip as a pair.
“To win this game was something really, really special for us, especially against a team like this,” Horst said. “They are one of the best teams in the world. We lost the first set, and we had a lot of chances. But we didn’t give up. Usually when you play a set like this it can happen that you lose the second set quite easily because you are still mentally down. We fought back at the beginning of the second and started really good, and kept playing like this in the third. Clemens decided to make some blocks, which was of course very helpful. We changed the tactic a little bit. We started to serve more in the middle, more float serve. With jump serve, which is usually our weapon, it didn’t work out more or less, so we had to change something and we did and I’m very happy that it did.”
To earn their shot at the gold medal, the Austrians must get past Russians Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin, the No. 6 seed, in Sunday’s semifinal.