Klagenfurt, Austria, July 28, 2016 - With the world's best Beach Volleyball players competing in US$800,000 A1 Major Klagenfurt, three of the least experienced teams made a lot of noise here Thursday in the men's competition at the fourth of five SWATCH Major Series events on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour calendar.
Two of the "least experienced" pairs have faced the competition before the past two seasons, but the tandem of 19-year old Anders Mol and 20-year old Christian Sorum of Norway made the most noise Thursday by upsetting Rio-bound Olympians Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Konstantin Semenov of Russia in a morning Pool E match followed by an afternoon win over the Brazilian veterans Vitor Felipe/Alvaro Filho.
Other "noise-makers" Thursday were the American Crabb brothers (24-year old Taylor and 26-year old Trevor) in Pool H and Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin of Russia, the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic champions, in Pool A. All three teams posted 2-0 records and can win their pools Friday.
But with the three "least experienced" teams having an average age per play of 21 with 21 combined FIVB World Tour events to their credit, their opposition Friday have an average age of 29 with a combined 90 international tournaments on their resumes.
Seeded 28th in the A1 Major Klagenfurt Main Draw after winning two qualifying matches Wednesday to advance to the "money" rounds, Mol and Sorum posted a 2-1 (16-21, 21-18, 24-22) win in 54 minutes over the fifth-seeded Krasilnikov and Semenov before defeating the 12th-seeded Vitor and Alvaro 2-0 (21-10, 24-22) in 37 minutes. Playing in their first FIVB World Tour event together and guaranteed a spot in the elimination bracket, the young Norwegians close out group action Friday against 21-seeded Christoph Dressler and Thomas Kunert of Austria.
Playing in only their fourth FIVB World Tour event together, the 24th-seeded Crabbs silenced the Klagenfurt crowd by defeating eighth-seeded Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst 2-1 (15-21, 21-14, 15-12) in 43 minutes in their second match Thursday. After winning two qualifying matches Wednesday, the Crabbs posted an opening 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) win Thursday morning in 31 minutes over ninth-seeded compatriots Tri Bourne and John Hyden.
The Crabbs, who placed ninth in their last SWATCH Major Series event earlier this month in Gstaad, Switzerland, face 25th-seeded Dmitri Barsouk and Nikita Liamin of Russia Friday morning for the Pool H title. Barsouk and Liamin, who are Copacabana-bound after teaming with Stoyanovskiy/Yarzutkin to win a Rio berth for their country at the FIVB Continental Cup Finals earlier this month in Sochi, posted wins over Doppler/Horst 2-0 (22-20, 21-16) in 33 minutes and Bourne/Hyden 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 16-14) in 43 minutes.
The 19-year old Stoyanovskiy and 20-year old Yarzutkin will have the toughest match Friday in pool action as the 16th-seeded Russians meet top-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia. Both teams defeated pairs from Germany (17th-seeded Kay Matysik/Alexander Walkenhorst) and Italy (32nd-seeded qualifiers Davide Dal Molin/Andrea Tomatis) Thursday.
Stoyanovskiy and Yarzutkin defeated Matysik and Walkenhorst 2-0 (21-13, 24-22) in 33 minutes before downing Dal Molin and Tomatis 2-0 (21-14, 21-18) in 26 minutes. The Latvians, who have a 2-0 FIVB World Tour record versus Stoyanovskiy and Yarzutkin, beat the Italians 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) in 29 minutes and the Germans 2-1 (20-22, 21-18, 15-10) in 46 minutes.
Other pool leaders from Thursday’s men’s action are second-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands (Pool B), third-seeded Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk of Canada (Pool C), 20th-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Stefan Windscheif of Germany (Pool D) and the Polish teams of 10th-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel (Pool G) and 11th-seeded Michal Bryl/Bartosz Losiak (Pool F). Bryl is replacement for Piotr Kantor, who is out with a thumb injury before competing with Losiak in the Rio Olympics. The Dutch and Canadians are also Copacabana-bound along with Fijalek and Prudel.
The A1 Major Klagenfurt also features women’s play where two rounds of elimination will be played Friday with the medal matches Saturday. The men’s elimination bracket will be played Friday and Saturday with the semi-finals and medal matches Sunday on the Lake Wörthersee center court. The winning men’s and women’s teams will share the $57,000 first-place prize.