Teams from the Netherlands and Austria seize Vaduz 1-Star titles
Vaduz, Liechtenstein, August 11, 2019. The FIVB World Tour 1-Star event held in Vaduz ended on Sunday with a truly classy men’s final where Moritz Fabian Kindl/Mathias Seiser of Austria (pictured) were able to complete a terrific comeback. In the women’s final, on the other hand, the Dutchwomen Emma Piersma/Pleun Ypma were just irresistible. On Sunday, another 2,000 spectators found their way to the venue, thus accounting for almost 12,000 fans who visited the event, known as Beacharena 2019, since earlier this week.
Women: Dutch youngsters storm to gold, as Japan sweep silver and bronze
In the first women’s semi-final, the Japanese no. 1 seed Sayaka Mizoe/Suzuka Hashimoto played against the young Dutch team Piersma/Ypma. At 18 and 21 years of age, the Dutchwomen were the second youngest team of the tournament. Only the English tandem Anaya Evans/Ellie Austin were younger. In a very well-balanced and high-level game, the Dutch team defeated the Japanese 2-1 (21-18, 21-23, 15-12).
How does it feel to have just defeated the No. 1 seed of the tournament? “Somewhat unreal, we had to fight hard - and when we only needed two points in the third set, we felt every heartbeat in our whole body. We analysed their team carefully, our strategy was to serve on both to prevent them from finding their rhythm,” Piersma and Ypma commented.
And it became even more unreal for them: in the final, they prevailed against the Japanese No. 2 seed Kaho Sakaguchi/Reika Murakami in a truly emphatic style, with a double 21-14 set win. “We tried to be as dominant as possible in the block and to draw all attention to it, so we had better chances in defence. That worked out really well. We were so hungry for this title and are indescribably happy,” the winners said.
Earlier in the day, Sakaguchi/Murakami beat the other Dutch team Julia Wouters/Katja Stam in the semi-finals (17-21, 21-17, 16-14). For the Dutch number 3 of the tournament, the tournament was over afterwards. They had to withdraw for medical reasons, so Mizoe/Hashimoto won the bronze medal without playing.
Men: Austrians come from behind to edge Russians in dramatic final
Kindl/Seiser ended the triumphal march of Florian Ertl/Johannes Kratz in the semi-finals. The result was clearer than expected (21-18, 21-18). “The key to success was our service. We are more than happy with the tournament, we have more than reached our goals with the final. Now everything on top of this is a bonus,” Kindl and Seiser commented.
For the number 1 Ruben Penninga/Jasper Bouter, the Russians Daniil Kuvichka/Anton Kislytsyn were too strong an opponent in the semi-finals. The Russians analysed that they defended better than the Dutch in the first set and played very strong block-defence in the second set. And they said, “We really wanted to win the game.”
In the game for the third place, Penninga/Bouter regrouped to defeat the Austrians Ertl/Kratz 2-0 (21-18, 21-15). “We are super happy with the tournament. It is our first podium finish on the World Tour. We came with this goal and reached it. We felt very comfortable in Liechtenstein and the atmosphere on Thursday with the many soccer fans from Frankfurt in the stadium was very special.”
The eventual winners Kindl/Seiser were obviously happy after their final victory: “Fortunately, we were able to show today that anything is possible if you believe in it.” In fact, they were with their backs against the wall against Kuvichka/Kislytsyn, after losing the first set and when trailing 15-18 in the second. They managed to increase the pressure in the service and achieved that especially when Kislytsyn began to play weaker, showing less quality and consistency in reception and attack. It was enough to turn the game around and to win a dramatic final 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 16-14). What a victory! “We thank Vaduz very much for the perfectly organised tournament and also the audience, which supported us super and could give us the last kick in the final,” the gold medal winners said.
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