Ostrava, Czech Republic, June 2, 2019 – Anders Berntsen Mol & Christian Sandlie Sorum won their third consecutive gold on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour to improve to a career total of seven. After topping the podium at their previous two appearances, at the Itapema and Jinjiang four-stars, the top-seeded Norwegians triumphed with the title at the four-star J&T Banka Ostrava Beach Open.
In a fantastic final, Mol & Sorum had to overcome the resistance of home favourites Ondrej Perusic & David Schweiner. The resilient Czech pair, who finished fourth at Ostrava 2018, had an even better tournament this year to upgrade to silver, their third on the World Tour, but first from a four-star event.
Second-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek & Michal Bryl completed the podium. This is their first World Tour bronze, after the four silver medals they had on their record so far. Before that, Fijalek represented Poland at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, while Bryl earned two World Championship titles for U19 and U21.
The men’s podium at Ostrava
Inspired by the fantastic home crowd on the completely packed stands around centre court in the gold medal match, Perusic & Schweiner took control of the first set, and playing better than the opponents in both spiking and blocking, ran off to a four-point margin close. After the halfway point of the second set Mol & Sorum began showing why they are the number one ranked team in the world. With their typical great elegance and finesse with almost every touch of the ball, the Norwegians took charge to level the match. With the momentum completely on their side, they dominated the tie-break. The eighth-seeded Czech team kept on fighting and denied the first four match points for the Norwegians before surrendering to a beautiful shot by Sorum for the final 2-1 (17-21, 21-15, 15-10).
“We play so well lately, and to play here in Ostrava is so much fun. And this audience gives us so much energy! The Czech guys played really, really well today and for the whole tournament. I was almost hoping for them to win because it’s their home court and it’s really special. So I hope next year they will win the gold medal,” said 21-year-old Mol after the final.
“It was something amazing! We had never expected such a successful tournament. The home crowd was a really important factor in our game,” commented Perusic. “We didn’t want to focus on any certain goal; we just wanted to perform in a good way, and that’s what we did until the second set of the final. But the Norwegians are a really strong team. They have been dominating since last year...”
“We will never forget this experience! The crowd was amazing! We played such a good tournament and to play well at home is really unforgettable,” added Schweiner, who turned 25 on the day before the finals.
The first set of the bronze medal match was a complete blow-away. Third-seeded Russians Viacheslav Krasilnikov & Oleg Stoyanovskiy rallied to a 9-2 lead after a long series of points with Stoyanovskiy behind the serving line, and then it was only a matter of time to close the set at a wide margin. At 12-8 in the second, the Russians seemed to be well on their way to a straight-set victory, when Fijalek & Bryl scored four in a row to get back into the game and eventually level the match. They used the momentum to take complete control of the tie-breaker and rally on towards a 2-1 (10-21, 21-19, 15-7) close.
“This was one crazy game. After the first set, in which they destroyed us with their serves, we talked about it, we stayed concentrated, we knew what we had to do and it was working,” Grzegorz Fijalek said. “The crowd was amazing and I hope that the game was amazing for the crowd... Big congrats to the organizers, because it’s one of the best tournaments in the world right now!”
Mol & Sorum had the upper hand in their semifinal encounter with Krasilnikov & Stoyanovskiy and took them away in straight sets – 2-0 (21-17, 21-15).
Two sets of hammer-and-tong beach volleyball led to a 2-0 (24-22, 21-17) win for Perusic & Schweiner over Fijalek & Bryl in their semifinal match. The Poles denied three Czech set points before Schweiner’s precision serve scored an ace for 24-22 in the first set. Towards the end of the second set, four points in row for the home team, supported by a couple of huge blocks by Schweiner, gave them an 18-15 lead and then they just built nicely to a 21-17 win.