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Brouwer & Meeuwsen celebrate during their quarterfinal in Ostrava

The men’s semifinals at the 2022 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Czechia will in a way feature ‘the best of’ all three previous editions of the tournament in Ostrava. Home heroes Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner made it among the last four in Ostrava for the fourth consecutive time and all three previous winners will keep them company in the remaining battles.

2019 champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway will face 2021 winners Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands at 17:00 local time on Saturday. An hour later, the home crowds will cheer Perusic and Schweiner on as they face 2018 gold medallists Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira of Spain.

· All the matches of the Ostrava Elite16 are available to watch live or on demand on Volleyball TV.

Sixth-seeded Mol and Sorum were the first team to advance to the men’s semifinals. The Vikings played a solid game in their quarterfinal against Brazil’s Andre Stein and George Wanderley and defeated them in straight sets, 2-0 (21-15, 21-16). It is the second time the reigning Olympic champions will play in an Elite16 semifinal. At their only previous appearance on the Beach Pro Tour, the Norwegians claimed the bronze in Rosarito.

Mol & Sorum v Andre & George: Match Highlights

“It feels amazing to be back in the semifinals,” said Mol. “It is really never easy on this circuit, especially when there are only 16 teams in the main draw. It’s such a tense competition in every game, so you have to deliver. We’re really proud to be in the semifinal again. Last time, in Mexico, we lost to Brouwer and Meeuwsen in the semifinal, so now we want our revenge.”

Brouwer and Meeuwsen, the defending 2021 Ostrava champs, stayed on track with a difficult victory over the other Brazilian team in the quarterfinals, Alison Cerutti and Gustavo Carvalhaes. The third-seeded Dutch pair snatched the first set well into the overtime and won the second by the narrowest of margins again for a 2-0 (25-23, 21-19) close. At the previous Elite16 tournament in Rosarito, Brouwer and Meeuwsen defeated Mol and Sorum in the semis and took the silver. The two teams also met in the pool stage of the Ostrava tournament, with the Norwegians celebrating victorious after a tight 18-16 in the tie-breaker.

Brouwer & Meeuwsen v Alison & Guto: Match Highlights

In a spectacular quarterfinal battle between the top two seeds in the main draw bracket, Perusic and Schweiner came back from a set down to delight the fans in Ostrava with a 2-1 (16-21, 21-18, 15-13) victory over Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan and got back at the Qataris for losing to them in three sets at the same stage of the Rosarito Elite16. Out of the previous three Ostrava final four appearances, the Czech duo made it to the final twice, in 2019 and 2021, but settled for silver on both occasions. Perusic and Schweiner met Herrera and Gavira in the pool stage of the ongoing tournament and defeated them in straight sets.

“We won against the Spanish guys yesterday, but they are a really strong and experienced team and they have proven it again at this tournament. So it’s going to be a completely different match, but I hope we are going to win,” commented Perusic. “The home crowd was surely one of the deciding factors in our win against Qatar. They give us an incredible amount of energy. The other two factors were our really good performance in sideout and luck.”

Perusic & Schweiner v Cherif & Ahmed: Match Highlights

Herrera and Gavira, who started their Ostrava campaign from Wednesday’s qualifiers, achieved a similar feat in their quarterfinal against Poland’s Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak and fought back from losing the first set to triumph with a hard-earned 2-1 (15-21, 21-17, 17-15) victory, with five-time Olympian Pablo Herrera raising a monster block for the match winner. This is the first Elite16 appearance for the Spanish team. Previously on this year’s Beach Pro Tour, they made the last four once, claiming a silver medal at the Madrid Futures earlier this month.

“The tiebreak was crazy! We were up by five points, but Poland caught up with some good serving and, at the end, either team could have won. The last 10 rallies were really high-level,” said Herrera. “We are happy to make it to our first semifinal at this level on the Beach Pro Tour. We started from the qualifiers and played many games here, so we need to recover well ahead of the next match.”

Herrera & Gavira v Bryl & Losiak: Match Highlights