Qinzhou, China, October 13, 2017 – Dutch qualifiers Dirk Boehle and Steven Van de Velde upset eighth seeds Li Zhuoxin and Zhou Chaowei of China in straight sets here on Friday to make the men’s quarterfinals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Qinzhou Open.
Boehle/van de Velde beat Li/Zhou in front of hundreds of home fans 2-0 (21-10, 21-18) for their third win in a row at the single elimination tournament. The Chinese duo stayed within 15-14 in the second set, but Boehle/van de Velde ran off three unanswered points and went on to wrap up the match in 29 minutes.
“We went all the way from the qualification to the quarterfinals, it feels great,” said Boehle.
“At the beginning we started pretty strong,” van de Velde added. “We had some trouble with the wind, but as well with the opponents. Our tactics worked very well in the first set. In the second, they started better and we had issues adapting. In the middle of the second set, we found a way and we worked through it.”
Meanwhile, top seeds Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle of Belgium outlasted Australia’s Cole Durant and Zachery Schubert 2-1 (24-22, 20-22, 15-9) to march towards their first medal at a FIVB World Tour event.
The first two sets were hotly contested. Koekelkoren/van Walle withstood three set points to claim the opener while Durant/Schubert rallied from 20-19 down to level one set back. In the tiebreaker, the Belgians jumped to a 7-3 lead and never looked back.
“We kept fighting the whole game,” said Koekelkoren. “The wind was very hard today, and that's the most important thing to handle. If you can play good with the wind, then you can win games. But it's hard, because you have to work really hard to play compact. Actually, the team that made less mistakes won the game. In the second set, we made too many mistakes, then we just tried to avoid the mistakes, and we won the tiebreaker.”
Koekelkoren and van Walle were expecting to reach the podium for the first time at a FIVB World Tour event. “There are some very good teams here, Cuba, Qatar are really good teams. We just want to play match by match and our goal is to reach the podium. We really want a medal! We want to get our first FIVB medal.”
Van Walle vowed to play more beautiful beach volleyball in the next matches. “It wasn't a really beautiful game for everybody. Because of the wind, it's hard to play beautiful volleyball. But I still think we did that at moments, but at other moments we missed so many chances,” he said. “We can't be really happy about it, but we won, so that's the most important. We hope next round we'll do better and play better beach volleyball. We'll see then.”
Third seeds Nadir Diaz Gomez Nivaldo and Bayard Sergio Reynaldo Gonzalez of Cuba and fourth seeds Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros from Mexico both cruised into the quarterfinals with respective wins while second seeds Santos Pereira Jefferson and Younousse Cherif of Qatar crashed out of the tournament after losing to Russia’s Maxim Sivolap and Igor Velichko 2-0 (21-18, 21-12).