Reigning champ made to sweat

29.06.2019 - Hamburg

Aussies almost cause an upset but Evandro and Bruno pull victory out of the fire

Reigning World champion Evandro Gonçalves and new partner Bruno Oscar Schmidt escaped an opening match upset after grinning out a dramatic victory on the Red Bull Beach Arena against Australians Damien Schumann and Cole Durant.

The Brazilians, dubbed the Dream Team – Bruno is 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 save 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.”

That game had followed success for German men’s favorites Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler, who did not have to sweat on the main court against Rwandan qualifiers Patrick Kavalo and Olivier Ntagengwa.

Thole/Wickler – who finished fourth in the World Tour Finals here last season – had to content with a long delay after an issue with the net before recording a 21-10, 21-15 win to get their tournament off to a winning start.

“We were very nervous at the beginning and it wasn’t easy,” admitted Wickler afterwards. “The stadium was full, the atmosphere was great but the nerves were not good for our game but I think we can be confident and play a bit better after this experience.”

Thole added: “We couldn’t find any material on our opponents so we focused on ourselves and concentrated on the technical elements. The crowd was great and in the end it was nice to be able to relax with the first win.”

Elsewhere, 2017 silver medalists of two years ago in Vienna, Clemens Doppler and Alex Horst, beat Japan’s Yuya Ageba and Yusuke Ishijima in straight sets to all-but secured their place in the knockout stages.