05.07.2019 - Hamburg, Germany
One of the quarter-finals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Hamburg 2019 presented by comdirect and ALDI Nord will see a true generational battle as German youngsters Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler are set to play American veterans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena at the Red Bull Beach Arena after both teams advanced from the Round of 16.
The Germans continue on a roll in front of their home fans as they secured their fifth-straight two-set victory when they downed Brazilian Olympic champion Alison Cerutti and his partner Álvaro Filho 21-14, 21-15 in front of a packed Red Bull Beach Arena.
“We did really well on each of the elements of our game, especially serving,” Wickler reflected afterwards. “That helped us to put a lot of pressure on them and the crowd was amazing again pushing us forward. To enter the stadium and hear them cheering our names was very nice. I can’t imagine how they could be any better in our next match, but I hope I’m wrong.”
The Germans are now set to play Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who are both 39, with a semi-final berth on the line. They have won the two matches they played against the Americans in the World Tour, but the respect level for them remains sky-high.
“It will be an honor to play them here in Hamburg and I’m really looking forward to it,” Thole added. “Phil is one of my youth idols. He’s an amazing blocker and he’s got all the skills. We’ve been very strong at the Red Bull Beach Arena and I’m curious to see what we can do against them.”
Dalhausser and Lucena had a completely different trajectory than the Germans on their path to the quarter-finals. After losing a couple of pool play matches, the Americans survived a lucky loser game before they entered the elimination round, in which they posted a 21-15, 21-17 win over Russians Nikita Liamin and Taras Myskiv.
“We sided out at a pretty high level and scored enough points to win it,” Phil summarized. “I think we’re playing pretty well right now and hopefully we can use this momentum in the quarter-finals because we’re going to need it.”
The team used an outside element to help finding its best form in Hamburg as after the frustrating pool play results they had a session with the US Olympic Committee’s sports psychologist Peter Haberl, who helped them to regain their confidence.
“As a team, something was a little off but that happens,” Nick explained. “We’ve been playing together for several years and every once in a while it kind of goes in a different direction, but I think we did a good job in coming together and I think that the pressure of the elimination rounds, we did a good job in turning it on.”