Porec, Croatia, June 29, 2016 - With the temperature rising in the Croatian coastal resort town, the action was even hotter here Wednesday afternoon at the US$800,000 Porec Major with the first six men’s qualifying matches being three-setters highlighted by a come-from-behind on center court by Austrians Lorenz Petutschnig and Tobias Winter.
Seeded ninth in the FIVB World Tour qualifier, Petutschnig and Winter avenged a first set defeat to Jeremy Casebeer and Sean Rosenthal to post a 2-1 (17-21, 21-18, 15-13) win in 48 minutes over the eighth-seed Americans to advance the opening “money” rounds in the SWATCH Major Series event.
“We have been following Rosenthal’s career,” said the 23-year old Petutschning after the match about the 36-year old Rosenthal, who represented the United States with two fifth-place finishes in the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games with Jake Gibb. “He is a legend in our sport. The Americans are great players and any time you defeat them, it is special.”
The 2016 Porec Major men’s qualifier was a two-day event with Petutschning and Winter eliminating a team from Switzerland in the first preliminary Tuesday. “We are playing our best right now,” said Petutschning. “It is a great feeling to qualify for the Main Draw and play against the best teams in the world. The atmosphere was great today and we are really pleased with our successes the past two days.”
With the mid-afternoon qualifying matches being played in 32°C (90°F) temperature, other three-set victors advancing to Thursday’s men’s Main Draw were top-seeded Saymon Barbosa/Gustavo Carvalhaes of Brazil, second-seeded Andre Loyola/Ricardo Santos of Brazil, third-seeded Mirco Gerson/Alexei Strasser of Switzerland, sixth-seeded Geir Eithun/Christian Sorum of Norway and seventh-seeded Christian Garcia/Francisco Alfredo Marco of Spain.
Taking an easier route to the Porec Major Main Draw were fourth-seeded Oivind Hordvik/Bjarte Usken of Norway and fifth-seeded Michal Bryl/Kacper Kujawiak of Poland as both pairs captured their final qualifying match in two sets.
With pool play and elimination contests featured on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the men’s semi-finals and medal matches will be played Sunday. The women’s schedule Thursday features the last set of pool matches followed by the first round of elimination. The Rounds of 16 and 8 for women will be Friday with the “final four” contests Saturday. The winning pairs will share the $57,000 first-place prizes.
Following the Porec Major, the SWATCH Series continues with stops in Switzerland (Gstaad, July 5-10) and Austria (Klagenfurt, July 26-31). Following the Olympics and the ASISCS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the end of August in the United States at Long Beach, the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals will be held September 8-13. The site for the event where the winning teams shared $100,000 first-place prizes, will be announced in the coming weeks.