Brno, Czech Republic. On Saturday, with the third day of competition, the much-awaited knockout stage of #EuroBeachVolleyU20 went eventually underway in Brno. The top 24 teams in the men’s and women’s competition were obviously excited and motivated to fight to the best of their abilities in order to stay in contention for the continental title – with eight teams from as many nations eventually achieving this feat.
On a slightly cold but beautiful and sunny morning in Brno, the girls were the first ones to take to the court, with the matches featuring the runners-up and third-placed teams in the pool stage ending in favour of the pre-favourite sides. The most anticipated duel featured teams from Poland and Denmark, with the young Poles Zuzanna Bielak and Aleksandra Chudzik prevailing in three sets.
Round 2 featured another series of exciting matches, including two where teams from the Czech Republic and the Netherlands would fight for a spot in the quarterfinals. It eventually ended with one victory apiece, with second-seeded Nadine Everaert and Wies Bekhuis of the Netherlands celebrating a 2-1 win. “It was a very emotional match and I am sorry that our fans could not witness a victory,” said Czech player Michaela Brínková, who finished on the losing side of this match.
The other Czech team Julie Honzovicová/Lucie Šulcová managed to beat Brecht Piersma/Desy Poiesz of the Netherlands, but they lost in the next round to Varvara Brailko and Anete Namike of Latvia. The Latvians advanced to Sunday’s semis together with Everaert/Bekhuis, Ukraine’s Sofiia Rylova/Yeva Serdiuk and Switzerland’s Annik Stähli/Menia Bentele. All quarter-final matches were very close, with the only exception of the one featuring Rylova and Serdiuk who needed less than half an hour to beat Italy’s Giada Bianchi and Erika Ditta.
The home teams representing the Czech Republic failed to reach the men’s semis as well. The duo Tomas Semerád/Jakub Šépka lost to Germany’s Simon Pfretzschner and Momme Lorenz. The red-hot favourites of the tournament, Jonatan Hellvig/David Åhman of Sweden sailed smoothly through the playoffs to face the real sensation of the championship in the semis, i.e. Sotiris Siapanis (pictured above) and Odysseas Savvides of Cyprus. Lorenz and Pfretzschner have reached the semi-finals as well, where they will be playing against Italy’s Gianluca Dal Corso and Marco Viscovich.
The tournament will be reaching its climax with the gold medal matches on Sunday, starting at 4 pm and 5 pm for women and men, respectively. Live streaming will be available on EuroVolleyTV, the CEV’s YouTube channel as well as on the CEV’s European Volleyball and Beach Volleyball Facebook pages.
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