Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior of Brazil compete against Damien Schumann and Cole Durant of Australia during the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Hamburg, Germany on June 29, 2019. – Photo:Mihai Stetcu – Beach Volleyball Major Series – Red Bull Content Pool
Reigning world champions Evandro Gonçalves de Oliveira Junior and André Loyola Stein both ground out epic victories as they began their title defense alongside new partners with gripping wins on the Red Bull Beach Arena.
Firstly, Evandro and Bruno Oscar Schmidt escaped an opening day defeat against Australians Damien Schumann and Cole Durant.
The Brazilians, dubbed the Dream Team – Bruno is the reigning Olympic champion – lost the first set and faced a match point in a ding-dong third set after Bruno was shown a red card for calling a timeout when they had already used one.
However, in trademark Evandro style the big-serving Brazilian landed an ace to ensure they began the tournament with a crucial win.
“I said to Evandro I like starting tournaments with a tough game,” said Bruno after the 19-21, 21-15, 18-16 win. “It was a good test for us to come back from behind.
“We had a match point against us. It was a weird situation where I called for a timeout. The officials said it was fine, then I got a red card and I didn’t understand that. It could have compromised the match but Evandro had a good serve to win us the match.”
And it was a similarly tough game for the 2017 champion André and teammate George Wanderely as the pair rescued victory in a dramatic final set against Austrians Philipp Waller and Robin Seidl.
The Brazilians took the first set but their European opponents came back to take the second 21-13 with some excellent volleyball.
An enthralling tiebreak saw André and George turn a 4-3 deficit into an 11-5 lead only for Seidl/Waller to storm back and tie the game at 14-14 with a series of breathtaking points.
But Brazil showed their class to ensure they started their tournament with an important win.
André said: “We expected it to be as tough as it was. We’ve been training and preparing for the tournament and we both were very anxious to get on the court and play.
“The Austrians are a good team and it was amazing to play them on the center court in front of all those fans. I think we had our ups and downs, but we believed until the end and I think we deserved to win because of our fighting spirit.”
Elsewhere on day two, it was a good day for Germany as five out of six teams from the host nation recorded victories to the delight of the fans inside the Red Bull Beach Arena.
Among the winners were crowd favorites Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler who beat Rwandan qualifiers Patrick Kavalo and Olivier Ntagengwa and Nils Ehlers and Lars Flüggen who recorded a fine straight sets win over Chile.
Three home women’s teams also triumphed, including Julia Sude and Karla Borger who ended the day in style for the hosts with a 21-15, 21-18 win over China in the last match.
Day three kicks off at 10am CEST and among the players in action on Sunday are men’s number one seeds Anders Mol and Christian Sørum of Norway and three-time Olympic and World champion Kerri Walsh Jennings of USA.
Goosebumps don’t lie – See you @ the Beach!
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Hamburg 2019 presented by comdirect & ALDI Nord
June 28 – July 7
Red Bull Beach Arena – Am Rothenbaum, Hamburg (Germany)