Austrian pair show growing confidence to progress at Qatar Open

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Doha, Qatar, April 6, 2016 (FIVB) – Lorenz Petutschnig and Tobias Winter showed their growing confidence on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour by reaching the Qatar Open second round at Al Gharafa Sports Club on Wednesday.

The Austrians defeated France’s Edouard Rowlandson and Youssef Krou 2-1 (21-14, 18-21, 11-10) to extend their run of unbeaten matches in Doha to three, after they lost their opening fixture against compatriots Robin Seidl and Alexander Huber 2-1 (21-15, 18-21, 15-9) on Tuesday.

Winter scored the winning point against Rowlandson and Krou with a serve that hit the top of the net and dropped onto the French team’s side.

“It was a completely crazy game,” Petutschnig said. “We played amazingly in the first set, but then they began to play better and we had some luck at the end of the third set, but we also played some good volleyball.

“I’m really, really happy because I had a lot of injuries and we had a really bad preparation with nearly no training together and now we have beaten three very good teams in a row.”

The duo first made their name at the inaugural FIVB U23 World Championships in 2013 where they won bronze, a tournament the 22-year-old Winter would still be eligible for.

They made their debuts on the World Tour later that year at the Anapa Open in Russia and since then they have slowly built up their experience of international beach volleyball on national tours, CEV European events and the Baku 2015 European Games, where they reached the quarter-finals.

“I think we’ve had some good years and some very good tournaments, but most importantly we’ve matured as players,” Winter said. “We know what’s important and that is why we are able to win games now.”

Polish pride

Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek avoided the first knockout round and went straight through to the second round after they topped their pool with three wins from three.

After winning twice on Tuesday they wrapped up pool play with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) win over France’s Edouard Rowlandson and Youssef Krou.

Like many of the teams playing at the Qatar Open the Polish pair are on course for an appearance at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games via the FIVB Olympic Rankings, though right now their thoughts are a long way from Copacabana right now.

“It is a good start and we are always happy to win especially as we didn’t play well today,” Prudel.

“The level of Polish teams is rising every year and every tournament. We are happy that we have rivals from our own country it means we have good opponents to practice against.

“Of course if we play well we have good results and we have more points, but we are focused on every game and not thinking too much about rankings or points.”

The Qatar Open is the second and last tournament for men only on the 2016 portion of the 2015-2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. It is the third straight year that Qatar has hosted a FIVB World Tour event in Doha and it runs from April 4-8 when the medal matches take place.

The event continues the Road to Rio that lasts until June 13, 2016 with FIVB World Tour events counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine 15 of 24 spots for each gender that will take part in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.