Swedish teams play their A-Game at #CEVSatellite in Göteborg
The first day of Main Draw action at the CEV Satellite in Göteborg saw a mix of comfortable wins and intense tiebreaks. A pumped home crowd helped the Swedish teams pull out their absolute top play.
The first team to get a win in the Main Draw was Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler from Germany, showing why they had a higher seed as they comfortably beat their Swiss opponents, Florian Breer/Yves Haussener (21-16, 21-15).
Next up was a Nordic battle between Sweden’s David Åhman/Alexander Annerstedt and their neighbours Jyrki Nurminen/Santeri Siren from Finland. The crowd and Sweden’s Annerstedt were the loudest voices in Beach Center, but Finland played a stable game throughout both sets and could close them 21-16, 21-14. “They were the better team today, they deserved to win,” Annerstedt said after the game.
Andrea Abbiati/Tiziano Andreatta of Italy and Florian Schnetzer/Daniel Müllner of Austria really battled hard in the third game of the day. An intense first set ending 25-23 in favour of Italy was followed by a second set ending 21-14 for the Austrians. Italy fought hard in the tiebreak, even breaking the boards surrounding the court at one time, but in the end, the last point was scored by Austria (15-13).
Home players Alexander Herrmann/Ludvig Simonsson, who on Thursday put on a show as they unexpectedly snatched the last spot in the Main Draw, were getting ready to take on Haralds Regza/Kristaps Smits of Latvia. The stands were filled and everyone was hoping for a replication of yesterday’s success. Herrmann/Simonsson did not disappoint as they kept even steps with the second-seeded Latvians throughout the whole first set, pressing the numbers way above 21. Eventually the Swedes were able to come out on top ending the set 26-24. Herrmann/Simonsson kept the momentum going in the second set and could at last scream out in euphoria as they closed the match 21-19, thus yet again proving they are a team to be reckoned with.
Poland’s Mateusz Lysikowski/Maciej Rudol could collect a fairly easy win against the Czech duo Marcel Myslivecek/Martin Pihera (21-9, 21-12), doing their job as the higher-seeded team in the match.
Friends, family and fans filled the stands as Sweden’s top team Martin Appelgren/Simon Boman made their first appearance in the tournament. The opponents were Morten Overgaard/Daniel Jonassen from Denmark, who had a hard time keeping up with the Swedes. The first set went comfortably to Appelgren/Boman (21-15) with a psyched crowd enjoying every moment. The second set got off to a dramatic start just three points in as Morten Overgaard had a bad landing and had to use a medical timeout to look after his foot. He was able to continue playing but the Swedes proved to be too big of a challenge this day for the Danish duo. Tricky float serves and big spikes resulted in Appelgren/Boman taking home the second set 21-15. “We want to thank the home crowd, you can tell that all of the Swedish teams really improve their game when being cheered on,” Appelgren/Boman said after the game. “It’s almost like having a third player on the court.” The Swedish duo had a few hours before their next game against Poland. “We are going to eat, do some scouting and enjoy the atmosphere… and maybe, just maybe, take a shower,” a sweaty Appelgren jokingly said.
Lars Tveit Retterholt/Svein Oddmund Solhaug from Norway put up a good fight but could not stop Ruben Penninga/Tom van Steenis from the Netherlands as they secured both the first and second set (21-19, 21-18).
Once again, the crowd could take out the Swedish flag as Linus Tholse/Jakob Molin entered the court, ready to take on the top-seeded Dirk Boehlé/Steven van de Velde from the Netherlands. The latest result of Boehlé/van de Velde is a third place in the FIVB 1-star event in Aalsmeer, which took place earlier this month, making the Swedish team the underdogs in this game. After losing the first set 19-21, Boehlé/van de Velde stepped up their game and sealed the second set 21-15. The third set was a real crowd pleaser filled with hard spikes and sly jump sets. In the end, Tholse/Molin could secure the third Swedish win of the day, giving away only eleven points in the tiebreak to the top-seeded team from the Netherlands. The Beach Center was filled with cheers and applause.
The four last games of the day were played with first place in each respective pool at stake. Thole/Wickler of Germany secured their first place in Pool C by beating Nurminen/Siren of Finland (21-13, 18-21, 15-10). For Pool B, Austria’s Schnetzer/Müllner took on Herrmann/Simonsson, trying to be the first team in this tournament to beat the energetic Swedish duo. This proved to be a challenge as the numbers were rising above 21. Herrmann/Simonsson could eventually snatch the last point ending the opening set 25-23, with the crowd going wild. The second set was a different story as the Austrians found their flow in both side-out and defence, created quite a gap and smoothly won 21-16. Schnetzer played a very impressive defence game and made some mind-blowing digs. “In the second set I was quite tired, I had a hard time figuring their defence out as I was attacking,” Simonsson said after the game. In the tiebreak, Sweden took the initiative, wearing their feelings on their sleeves, and everything seemed to be going their way up until the last point (15-11). “It felt like we got the control back; we got a hold of their strengths in the side-out and we had to change our tactics a little according to that,” Simonsson said. “We had some luck with a few balls trickling over the net, but overall I feel like both teams played a great game and the energy on the court was really good. It was a fun game to play.”
After a comfortable win earlier for both Appelgren/Boman and Lysikowski/Rudol, it was time to settle the winner of Pool D. Despite the home crowd that were backing them up, Appelgren/Boman could not get the Polish team out of their rhythm. A stable play gave Poland the win 21-13, 21-16.
In the last game of the day, settling the winners of Pool A, Penninga/van Steenis from the Netherlands took a convincing win in the first set (21-13). Sweden’s Tholse/Molin managed to push the game to a third and all-deciding set after winning the second set 21-18. In the tiebreak, Penninga/van Steenis came out on top 15-10.
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