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Thurins keep Swedish dream alive at CEV Satellite in Laholm

Teams competing at the CEV Satellite in Laholm contested as many as 16 matches on Friday at Mellbystrand. At the end of a long day, four teams had to leave the competition, while the remaining twelve will try to fight their way into the semi-finals.

Alexandra Moiseeva/Ekaterina Syrtseva from Russia really stepped up their game from Thursday’s qualification tournament, as they beat 2016 U22 European champions Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka of Latvia and Germany’s top-seeded Kim Behrens and Anni Schumacher.

Ekaterina Syrtseva never gave her opponents the slightest chance of threatening the Russian victory train, with multiple big blocks and crushing spikes. The Czech Republic, represented by Martina Bonnerova/Sarka Nakladanova, also rushed their way through Friday’s matches with two big wins against Sweden’s Kristina Thurin/Susanna Thurin, and Lithuania’s Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte. Playing with surgical accuracy as well as inexhaustible intensity, the Czech team really sent a message to their future opponents.

The Swedish audience has found their new favourites. Lézana Placette/Aline Chamereau from France fought their way not only into Round 3 of the winners’ bracket, but also into the hearts of the spectators. Long rallies, big digs and loud celebrations all characterize the young French players. Aline Chamereau: “We haven’t played a lot together, and this is our second Main Draw. We just focus on having fun together. We have no coach with us, so we have to do everything together, and we have a great time when doing it.” Placette: “We have no specific goals for the tournament, we just want to play. Our friends [Arnaud Loiseau and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat] won the men’s CEV Satellite in Göteborg earlier this year, and of course we will try our best to win every game, but I don’t care if we win or lose as long as we have a good time.”

The fourth team still in the winners’ bracket is Germany’s Katarina Schillerwein/Cinja Tillmann. Starting the tournament as the lowest ranked out of the three German teams competing in Laholm, they really wanted to prove their worth. Two straight wins speak volumes, and not by any means will they stop fighting tomorrow. Round 3 will surely offer some high-level Beach Volleyball.

In the losers’ bracket, Denmark’s Helle Sondergård/Simone Marie Okholm was the first team to leave the Main Draw. Sitting for a long time in the driver’s seat against Austrians Eva Freiberger and Elisabeth Klopf, they lost control over the game, and Austria seized the opportunity to strike. Turning both sets around from seemingly impossible situations, Freiberger/Klopf took the match 21-19, 22-20.

Swedish home stars Tadva Yoken/Sigrid Simonsson had a rough day. An early injury on Simonsson’s left thumb made playing harder, and they fought to no avail in their first game against Norway’s Ingrid Lunde/Oda Johanne Ulveseth. To stay in the tournament they had to beat the other Norwegian team, the talented Victoria Faye Kjølberg/Ane Guro Tveit Hjortland. Both teams playing with a knife to their throats, the tension was evident all the way through the stands. The match went back and forth, with the Swedes taking the first set 23-21, Yoken’s side-out and Simonsson’s digs being key elements to their victory. The crowd was happy to see Yoken/Simonsson continuing in the same fashion early in the second set, and at 19-15 in favour of the Swedish girls, the game was all but over. To the Swedes’ despair, Kjølberg/Hjortland made some excellent digs, and before the audience knew what had happened, Norway had turned the game to a three-setter. Sweden, still upset over their baffling loss, was unable to find their way back into the game, and what had seemed to become a celebration instead became a major disappointment as Norway took the game 21-23, 23-21, 15-11.

Next up was another Swedish team, Susanna Thurin/Kristina Thurin. The anticipation was high for the first Swedish team to advance to Saturday’s games, and now the audience turned their hopes towards the Swedish twins from Sollentuna. They were not let down, as Kristina and Susanna found their way into the next round by defeating Serbian team Milena Matic and Marija Milosevic 2-1 (19-21, 21-16, 15-11). Quick as lightning, they made up for their lack of height. Matic/Milosevic tried repeatedly to overcome the Swedes, but they just could not kill the ball often enough. Thurin/Thurin lived up to all expectations, and the dream of a Swedish team playing in the final day still lives.

In the last game of the day, Tora Hansson and Sofia Ögren were looking to join Thurin/Thurin in Saturday’s competition, but they were unable to outsmart the powerful Graudina/Kravcenoka from Latvia. Both physically and technically skilled despite their still young age, the Latvians played an impressive game to stay alive in the tournament (2-0; 21-19, 21-15).

Another 10 games are scheduled for Saturday, and the people coming to watch are guaranteed to see more world-class Beach Volleyball, as only four teams will eventually made it to the semis on Sunday.

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Publicerad: 2017-07-07

Senast uppdaterad: 2017-07-08

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