03.07.2019 - Hamburg
Olympic silver medalists Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai underlined their status as one of the favorites for their first world title after the Italians beat reigning champion Andre Loyala and George Wanderely on the Red Bull Beach Arena.
The 25-23, 16-21, 15-12 win meant the pair topped Pool H to give themselves a potentially easier route through the competition as they aim to improve on their disappointing result in Vienna two years ago when they finished 17th.
“We have learned a lot from what happened in Austria,” said blocker Nicolai. “We had too much expectations on our shoulders, too much pressure, in that tournament.
“In Vienna we came through our pool really easy, won three games and then lost. Sometimes it’s better to have some difficulties earlier in the tournament to try and learn from and improve on.
“That’s why this game was important. We knew we had to play at a high level and play three sets and that’s what happened. The tournament starts now but we won’t put too much expectation on ourselves.”
In the other game in Pool H, Austrians Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller booked themselves a place in the Round of 32 as one of the best four third-place finishers following their straight sets victory over Mozambique’s Aldevino Nguvo and Delcio Soares.
In remaining pool action, there was joy for Germans Lars Fluggen and Nils Ehlers as the home side comfortably saw off the challenge of Mexicans Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros inside the Red Bull Beach Arena in straight sets to top Pool J.
Joining them are Russians Nikita Liamin and Taras Myskiv after the Russians eliminated the pool’s top seeds, Esteban and Marco Grimalt of Chile with a 2-0 victory.
The Mexicans will take their place in the Lucky Loser Play-Off alongside the likes of Lucena/Dalhausser, Perusic/Schweiner and home sides Bergmann/Harms and Erdmann/Winter.
As well as Seidl/Waller, the three other best third-placed tandems were Pedlow/Schachter of Canada, Vakili/Salemi from Iran and Russians Semenov/Leshukov.
The draw for the men’s Lucky Loser play-off and elimination stage will take place later this afternoon.