Baden, Austria. Sunday could be a historic day for women’s beach volleyball in Switzerland as two teams from the land-locked European country advanced here Saturday to the semifinals of the Baden Open along with two pairs from Germany.
With the Baden Open being the 430rd FIVB World Tour event for women, no two Swiss teams have ever meet in a gold medal match as top-seeded Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli and second Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre scored quarterfinals wins over pairs from Italy and the Czech Republic to advance to Sunday’s semifinals.
Heidrich and Verge-Depre will play in Sunday’s first semifinal against fifth-seeded Karla Borger and Julia Sude as the two teams will be meeting for the third time on the FIVB World Tour with the Swiss winning twice last season in three sets highlighted by a 2-1 (20-22, 21-16, 15-12) semifinal victory in 52 minutes at the Moscow Open.
If Heidrich and Verge-Depre win, seventh-seeded Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider of Germany will attempt to spoil the Swiss celebration by defeating Betschart and Huberli in the second semifinal. The two teams have split a pair of three-set World Tour matches with Bieneck and Schneider defeating Betschart and Huberli in April 2019 at Xiamen, China.
Bieneck and Schneider posted Saturday’s biggest surprise at the Baden open by upsetting third-seeded Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) quarterfinal win in 40 minutes. The win was the German’s second in eight matches with Hermannova and Slukova, who had won the previous five confrontations between the two teams.
In other women quarterfinal matches, Heidrich and Verge-Depre defeated eighth-seeded Michaela Kubickova/Michala Kvapilova of the Czech Republic 2-1 (18-21, 21-11, 15-12) in 52 minutes, Borger and Sude eliminated ninth-seeded qualifiers Agata Ceynowa/Katarzyna Kociolek of Poland 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) in 34 minutes and Betschart and Huberli posted a 2-0 (21-8, 21-18) victory in 35 minutes over sixth-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy.
If the two German women’s teams prevail, it will mark the second FIVB World Tour gold medal meeting for two pairs from their country. Borger was involved in that 2014 match in the Swiss Alps village of Gstaad as she and Britta Buthe dropped a 2-0 (24-22, 21-16) title decision in 40 minutes to Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler on July 13. Two Germany men’s teams met for a World Tour gold medal in July 2005 at Espinho, Portugal.
In the men’s competition, Heidrich’s younger brother Adrian teamed with Mirco Gerson to advance to Baden Open semi-finals as the second-seeded pair posted a 2-1 (20-22, 21-12, 15-13) win in 58 minutes over sixth-seeded Christoph Dressler/Alexander Huber of Austria.
With the win, Gerson and Heidrich meet 11th-seeded Jan Pokersnik and Nejc Zemljak of Slovenia in the first men’s semi-final Sunday. The Slovenians advanced to the final four with a 2-1 (14-21, 21-18, 15-10) victory in 48 minutes over 12-seeded Samuele Cottafava/Jakob Windisch of Italy.
The second men’s semi-final will match eighth-seeded qualifier Yves Haussener and Quentin Metral of Switzerland against fourth-seeded Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller of Austria. Haussener and Metral defeated fifth-seeded compatriots Florian Breer/Marco Krattiger 2-0 (21-17, 29-27) in 42 minutes to advance while Seidl and Waller posted a 2-0 (21-14, 2-18) victory in 34 minutes over Austrian rivals Julian Horl and Tobias Winter.
With two-time defending champions and top-seeded Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst eliminated earlier Saturday, the final two men’s semi-final berths have been secured by pairs from host Austria and Switzerland where Saturday’s final two matches were country vs. country meetings. Doppler had to forfeit his match Saturday due to illness as he and Horst were second to play Dressler and Huber.