Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner took the lead in Pool A at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals in Cagliari. On Wednesday’s first competition day on the Italian island of Sardinia, the Czech pair won both of their matches.

Perusic and Schweiner, the current number two team in the FIVB World Ranking, opened their campaign with a very tough three-setter against Christiaan Varenhorst and Steven van de Velde of the Netherlands. After two overtime sets, the Czechs took control during the tie-breaker to emerge with a 2-1 (27-25, 27-29, 15-10) victory. In their evening match, Perusic and Schweiner proved superior to USA’s Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb to master a 2-0 (21-12, 21-16) win.

“Of course, it’s awesome! We didn’t know what to expect, because most of the teams haven’t played for a while,” Ondrej Perusic told Volleyball World. “I’m glad that we had a good preparation and we were able to show it in today’s two games. They were quite different, played in different conditions against different teams. Maybe the score would not suggest it, but I would say our second game was also really tough. The American guys are a really strong team and in the second set they showed that they were capable of a comeback. We were able to manage the tough situations in the crucial moments of both games, so we could celebrate with two wins. I hope we can keep it up in the next matches.”

Steven van de Velde spikes past Paolo Nicolai’s block

Steven van de Velde spikes past Paolo Nicolai’s block

The two teams that suffered at the hands of the Czechs were able to win their other matches on Wednesday. Varenhorst and Van de Velde mounted a dramatic comeback against Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo to take a 2-1 (10-21, 21-14, 17-15) victory, while Crabb and Gibb produced a 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) shutout of Latvian wild cards Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs.

In Pool B, Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov managed to turn their game against Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands around to a 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 15-12) win, but then suffered a 2-0 (21-14, 21-8) blowout at the hands of the world’s number one team, Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar. Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway mastered a 2-0 (21-19, 21-10) victory over the second Italian team, Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi.