Anders Mol and Christian Sorum extended their winning streak at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha to top the final Pool B standings undefeated and advance straight to the semifinals on Sunday. In a remake of their last pool match on Saturday, the second-seeded Norwegians will play against Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava for a spot in the final, scheduled for later in the day. In the other semifinal, Poland’s Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak, also unbeaten in Pool A, will meet Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands.
Norway against Italy and Poland against Netherlands in Doha semis
Mol & Sorum to take on Nicolai & Cottafava, and Bryl & Losiak to face Brouwer & Meeuwsen for the berths in Sunday’s final
Published 07:17, 28 Jan 2023
For the third time in three days, Mol and Sorum had to battle back from a set down and once again emerged as winners. In their last pool match on Saturday, the reigning world and Olympic champions took on Nicolai and Cottafava. The Italians came out on the winning end of a long first set. They even had a three-point lead in the second before Mol took control of the net to steer his team to a 2-1 (23-25, 21-16, 15-12) victory, himself contributing 30 points, including six kill blocks and an ace.
“It was really tough,” Sorum told Volleyball World after the game. “The wind was really difficult to play in and they had some really strong serves. That affected the first set, but we managed to find a way to win the second set and then we won the third. So it was great to get three 2-1 victories in such a tough pool.”
“I figured out that last year we played against most of these teams in final matches, and it is really incredible that we are all in the same pool here. It says a lot about the high level of this tournament. And of course, we are super happy to beat them again. The best of the best are playing here, so it’s cool to be able to make four out of four,” said Mol. “Now that we are directly in the semifinals, we don’t have a game tonight, and this is going to be nice, because we can rest.”
Czechia’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner mastered a 2-0 (26-24, 21-10) shutout of winless Brazilians Renato Lima and Vitor Felipe, but that proved insufficient for advancement to the playoffs. Three teams finished on a 2-2 win-loss record each below the Beachvolley Vikings in the pool standings, but based on the results between them, Brouwer and Meeuwsen took second place and Nicolai and Cottafava took third to progress to the quarterfinals and leave the fourth-placed Czechs out of contention.
Bryl and Losiak completed their perfect run in Pool A with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) shutout of Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan, knocking the top-seeded home pair out of the tournament. Bryl was the best scorer of the match with 17 points, including six blocks and two aces.
In the first of two quarterfinals, Brouwer and Meeuwsen battled their way back from a set down against Andre and George to claim a berth in the semifinals. Andre’s solid blocking made the difference in the tight first set as the Brazilians stepped in front. Performing better in offence, the Dutch maintained a slight lead through most of the second set to close it at the narrowest of margins and prompt a tie-breaker. With Brouwer leading the attack and Meeuwsen chipping in with a few kill blocks, they persevered through the hard-fought third set and wiped out a three-point deficit to celebrate a 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-13) victory.
The last match of the day offered an all-Italian duel for the last semifinal vacancy. Halfway through the first set Nicolai and Cottafava scored four in a row to take a 15-12 lead and never looked back to edge forward in the match. In the second set, Nicolai and Cottafava made their break earlier with a four-point run for a 5-3 lead. Then they just kept the pressure through the end to widen the gap to 10 points for a 2-0 (21-18, 21-11) sweep, with a skyball serve out of bounds bringing in the match winner. Nicolai impressed with seven kill blocks towards his team’s success.
The first men’s semifinal on Sunday at 15:00 local time (12:00 UTC) will feature Bryl and Losiak against Brouwer and Meeuwsen. Ah hour later, Mol and Sorum will lock horns with Nicolai and Cottafava. The bronze medal match will start at 19:00 (16:00) and the battle for gold is scheduled at 21:00 (18:00).