Warsaw, Poland, June 13, 2019 – Last year’s winner of the four-star Warsaw stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Piotr Kantor made a convincing start to this year’s edition of the tournament. In sizzling heat on the banks of the Wisla, two Polish pairs, Piotr Kantor & Mariusz Prudel and top-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek & Michal Bryl, won their first main draw pool matches on Thursday to delight the home crowd and secure their spots in at least the first round of single elimination.
Defending 2018 Warsaw champion Kantor, who is playing alongside Prudel while his regular teammate Bartosz Losiak is recovering from injury, pleased the fans on the centre court stands with a speedy success. Seeded 25th, Kantor & Prudel cruised to an emphatic 2-0 (21-13, 21-13) win over seventh-seeded Pablo Herrera Allepuz & Adrian Gavira Collado of Spain and will play Chile’s Marco Grimalt & Esteban Grimalt for the first place in Pool H on Friday.
“We played very well. We didn’t make mistakes and, consequently, managed to apply the tactics that we wanted. That was really important in these weather conditions. We will try to continue playing in a similar way, the best that we can,” said Prudel after the match.
It was way more difficult for the tournament’s home favourites Fijalek & Bryl. In one of the day’s only two three-setters, the number one seeds struggled against Austria’s Thomas Kunert & Daniel Muellner, seeded bottom 32nd, and had to come back from a set down to finally snatch a tight 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 15-13) victory in their first Pool A game. 17th-seeded Pedro Solberg & Vitor Goncalves Felipe will be their opponents in the pool final on Friday.
The third Polish pair, Maciej Rudol & Jakub Szalankiewicz, however, did not manage to deliver an upset of Konstantin Semenov & Ilya Leshukov. The fifth-seeded Russians cruised to a 2-0 (21-14, 21-18) victory over the 28th-seeded Polish wild cards and will face Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs & Janis Smedins (#12) for a spot in the second elimination round. To stay in contention, Rudol & Szalankiewicz will have to beat Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich & Mirco Gerson (#21) to finish third in Pool E.
Ilya Leshukov ready to serve
Second seeds and World Ranking leaders Anders Berntsen Mol & Christian Sandlie Sorum of Norway reigned over their first Pool B match. In the second on Friday, they will try to book their direct ticket to the round of 16 as they go against USA’s Theodore Brunner & William Reid Priddy (#18). Third-seeded Russians Viacheslav Krasilnikov & Oleg Stoyanovskiy will play against Brazil’s Alison Cerutti & Alvaro Morais Filho (#14) for the first place in Pool C. The top of Pool D will be disputed between fourth-seeded Americans Nicholas Lucena & Philip Dalhausser and Germany’s Julius Thole & Clemens Wickler (#13). Another US team, Trevor Crabb & Tri Bourne (#10) will challenge Qatar’s Cherif Younousse & Ahmed Tijan (#7) in the winners’ match of Pool G. It will not be any less interesting in the battle for the first place in Pool F, where Italy’s Paolo Nicolai & Daniele Lupo (#6) will lock horns with Brazil’s Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior & Bruno Oscar Schmidt (#11).
USA’s Reid Priddy dives for the ball