AlexanderBrouwer_01

Three teams from the men’s Pool A secured their advancement to the next stage of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals in Cagliari, while legendary American Jake Gibb played his last professional beach volleyball match on Thursday. In Pool B, Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum suffered an upset at the hands of Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen.

The Dutch pair started the tournament with a defeat on Wednesday, but came back on Thursday to battle it out for a hard-fought 2-1 (21-19, 23-25, 24-22) victory over the Norwegian standouts.

“They are such a great team! They win so much at the moment,” Meeuwsen told Volleyball World. “But we knew, for us to stay in the tournament, it was a really important game and we had to win it. I had that in the back of my mind for the whole game, even when we were behind. We tried to keep our heads as cool as possible all the time. It’s nice that we managed to win it in the end.”

“We prepared for this game like we always do. Yesterday it felt really terrible as we had our chances to win the match against Semenov and Leshukov and I am really happy that we started off this second match today with positive energy and a really good fighting spirit, playing together as a team throughout the match, and that brought us the win, even after we got ourselves into trouble at the end of both the second and the third sets. Yeah, it’s really good to have this win,” Brouwer added.

Anders Mol on the block

Anders Mol on the block

Mol and Sorum themselves bounced back with an emphatic 2-0 (21-16, 21-14) shutout of Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov, while Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan survived a second-set opponent match point to mount an amazing turnaround to a 2-1 (16-21, 23-21, 15-10) victory over Italy’s Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi.

Before the deciding matches on Friday, Mol and Sorum lead the pool standings on a 2-1 win-loss record, followed by Cherif and Ahmed on 2-0, Semenov and Leshukov on 1-2, Brouwer and Meeuwsen on 1-1 and Carambula and Rossi on 0-2.

Ondrej Perusic sets the ball

Ondrej Perusic sets the ball

Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner remained unbeaten in Pool A, after a convincing 2-0 (21-13, 21-17) win over Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs. Also on Thursday, Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo got back on the winning track with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) clean slate against the Latvians and a 2-1 (21-11, 19-21, 15-13) battle against USA’s Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb. The latter happened to be the very last match in the professional athletic career of the legendary Gibb, as his team will have to leave the tournament on a 1-3 win-loss record in the pool. Earlier in the day, Crabb and Gibb lost in straight sets, 2-0 (26-24, 21-10), to Netherlands’ Christiaan Varenhorst and Steven van de Velde.

This way, the Czechs, the Dutch and the Italians are sure to finish in the top three places in the final pool standings, with the exact positions decided on Friday.