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Schweiner & Perusic greet each other on the court

Czechia’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner were the only men’s team to secure two wins on Thursday as the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Hamburg Elite16 main draw got underway in Germany. In the only other pool where the teams played two rounds on the first competition day, the teams are all on a 1-1 win-loss to prompt exciting deciders on Friday.

· Watch all main draw matches at the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Hamburg live on Volleyball TV.

Third-seeded Perusic and Schweiner lost an extended first set to Italy’s Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi in the Pool C opener, but then dominated in offence to battle it out for a 2-1 (23-25, 21-16, 15-12) victory. The same scenario unfolded in the Czech pair’s second match as they took the lead in the pool standings after a 2-1 (25-27, 21-16, 15-13) come-from-behind win over Estonia’s Kusti Nolvak and Mart Tiisaar.

Perusic & Schweiner v Nolvak & Tiisaar match highlights

“After we lost the first set, I said to myself, ‘OK, here we go again!’ We do that at every tournament,” Schweiner told Volleyball World. “But we knew we would fight to the end and we really wanted to play. It was really demanding. Both teams played very well. We didn’t perform the way we would imagine, but at the end we were really happy to be able to win even in such conditions when we are not performing at our best.”

“Usually when we play any of these two teams, it’s a very difficult and really tied game,” Perusic added. “To be able to improve our game, change the tactics a bit and win in the end, after losing the first set, is a psychological boost for us. The disadvantage, of course, is that it’s really tiring and the fatigue might be a problem as the tournament goes on.”

In the other two matches in this pool, Nolvak and Tiisaar produced a 2-0 (21-19, 21-11) shutout of Dutch duo Stefan Boermans and Matthew Immers, who then bounced back with a 2-0 (21-12, 21-12) sweep of Carambula and Rossi to keep the door to the quarterfinals open for all four teams.

Paolo Nicolai’s successful blocks against Bryl & Losiak

That door is really wide open for all four teams in Pool B, where the winners of the third-round matches on Friday will definitely secure advancement since everyone is on a 1-1 win-loss record after the first two rounds. First, Austrians Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller delivered a 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) upset of the world’s number one team, Brazil’s Andre Loyola Stein and George Wanderley, seeded second in the main draw bracket. At the same time, Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava earned a hard-fought 2-0 (24-22, 21-18) victory over qualifiers Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak of Poland, with Nicolai mounting seven kill blocks in the match.

The tables were turned in the second round, as Andre and George bounced back with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-16) win over Nicolai and Cottafava, while Bryl and Losiak hammered out a 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) shutout of Seidl and Waller. On Friday, the Brazilians will play against the Poles, while the Austrians take on the Italians.

In Pool A, the top-seeded world and Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway had to forfeit their first match to the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen for medical reasons, while the other Dutch duo, qualifiers Leon Luini and Ruben Penninga turned their match against Brazil’s Bruno Schmidt and Saymon Barbosa around from a set down to a 2-1 (21-23, 21-19, 15-10) victory.

Spanish qualifiers Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira also came back from a set down in their first Pool D match to defeat their Chilean friends and rivals Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt by 2-1 (16-21, 21-11, 22-20), while Germany’s Clemens Wickler and Nils Ehlers delighted the home crowd with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) sweep of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Word Championship 2022 silver medallists, fourth-seeded Brazilians Renato Lima and Vitor Felipe.

Men’s main draw action in Hamburg resumes at 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT) on Friday.