Austrian teams shine on home sand in lead-up to Baden Open

Vienna/Wolfurt, Austria. The 2020 Austrian Beach Volleyball Tour continued this past weekend with the 31st edition of the Raiffeisen Wolfurttrophy, where – despite the tough competition brought by some elite foreign players – Austrian teams secured the gold and silver medals, with international visitors settling for third place finishes ‘only’. On Sunday, the weather was midsummer, spreading positive vibes among players and fans alike. At the end of a great weekend, Dorina Klinger/Lena Plesiutschnig and Philipp Waller/Julian Hörl beamed from the top step of the podium.

Eva Pfeffer/Franziska Friedl prevailed in the first women’s semi-final against Julia Radl/Anja Dörfler 2-0 (21-19, 21-11), afterwards Dorina Klinger and Lena Plesiutschnig (pictured above) won the duel with the Czech team Martina Williams/Sara Olivova 2-1 after a rather sloppy start (9-21, 21-18, 15-7). Philipp Waller/Julian Hörl were also able to make up for a set deficit, beating the top-seeded Swiss Adrian Heidrich/Mirco Gerson 2-1 (16-21, 21-19, 15-6). Moritz Pristauz/Laurenz Leitner and Michal Bryl/Mikolaj Miszczuk delivered a thrilling fight. The Austrian duo eventually edged their Polish opponents after 70 minutes (21-19, 19-21, 16-14). On Saturday, Pristauz and Leitner had caused the major sensation of the tournament with their victory over 2017 vice-world champions Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst. 

Williams/Olivova won the women’s bronze medal match 2-1 (21-18, 21-23, 15-11) over Radl and Dörfler. For Olivova it is the second podium in a row in Wolfurt, where in 2019 she had triumphed alongside Karolina Rehackova. The men’s bronze medal match was a clear-cut affair. Heidrich and Gerson had the upper hand in the duel with Bryl/Miszczuk 2-0 (21-17, 21-19). The Swiss were the winners of a 3-Star World Tour tournament in Qinzhou, China, in 2019, where they beat Martin Ermacora/Moritz Pristauz in the final. Michal Bryl is an absolute top man: together with his actual partner Grzegorz Fija?ek, he is fifth in the FIVB World Ranking!

Philipp Waller and Julian Hörl standing on top of the podium at the Austrian Beach Volleyball Tour in Wolfurt ?

In their first tournament together, Klinger and Plesiutschnig had to come from behind to change the course of the game in the gold medal match with Pfeffer/Friedl. In the second set, they dissipated a 19-16 lead, fell 19-20 behind, but closed the match in their favour shortly afterwards (24-22, 22-20). For Klinger/Plesiutschnig, it is the first victory as a team – in their very first competition together. The two blockers usually play with sister Ronja and Katharina Schützenhöfer, respectively, but these are both still recovering from their shoulder injuries. Therefore, Klinger and Plesiutschnig will compete together at the FIVB World Tour BADEN OPEN presented by SPORT.LAND.NÖ next week as well. 

The two top men’s teams of the weekend provided the cherry on the cake to cap the 31st edition of the Raiffeisen Wolfurttrophy. Pristauz/Leitner and Waller/Hörl put on a great show in the final, delivering Beach Volleyball of the finest level. Pristauz, a bronze medal winner from the European Championship in 2019, and his new partner seemed to head towards victory, after taking the first set and a very comfortable lead in both the second and third ones, but ultimately ran out of fuel. Waller/Hörl celebrated a spectacular 2-1 (16-21, 21-19, 15-12) come-from-behind triumph and the well-deserved tournament victory after 52 minutes of play. 

Photo Credit: Raiffeisen Wolfurttrophy

CEV – European Volleyball
ÖVV – Volleyball Austria