Perusic/Schweiner (CZE) vs. Henning/Winter (GER) - Pool C #6488653

Perusic makes a dig during the match against Germans Henning and Winter

Ondrej Perusic’s return to the sand after a two-month injury absence was a positive one as the Czech Olympian and partner David Schweiner won their first match at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Hamburg Elite16 on Thursday.

The opening day of the main draw for the men featured eight matches at the iconic Am Rothenbaum Stadium, with the winners getting one step closer to the elimination rounds in Germany.

  • Watch the Beach Pro Tour Hamburg Elite16 matches live on VBTV

Perusic, 28, sustained an injury to his abdominal muscle and hadn’t played internationally since their home tournament, the Ostrava Elite16, in early June, where they finished fourth. The Czechs missed Beach Pro Tour Elite16 events in Gstaad and Montréal and the European Championship and got back on the court together last weekend, in a stop of the German National Tour.

In their return to the Beach Pro Tour, Perusic and Schweiner were faced with the home team of Paul Henning and Sven Winter and managed to secure a three-set (21-23, 21-71, 15-9) win to start their campaign in Pool C in Hamburg.

“It feels amazing to be back,” Perusic commented. “It’s been seven weeks since I last played and it feels great to be on the court again. Of course, my game is still not at the same level it was before the injury but I really hope that tomorrow we will be able to perform better and match the other top teams in the pool. For this week, we’re trying to focus on our performance and getting our match rhythm back. We know that if we play well, we can beat any team, but we have two tough opponents tomorrow and will try to bring our best game.”

Perusic/Schweiner (CZE) vs. Henning/Winter (GER) - Pool C #6488652

Schweiner works against Henning at the net

The Czechs, however, also have to deal with a little bit of a sense of urgency right now as since they only played in three events so far in the season, they need a good result this week in Hamburg to book their tickets to the 2023 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship, in October, and also to improve their situation in the FIVB Olympic Rankings, which will award 17 spots to next year’s Paris Games.

“Collecting points to qualify for the World Championship is our main goal here as this is the last tournament before the deadline,” Schweiner added. “And also, of course, getting more points to our Olympic Rankings would be important too as we missed a few events and are a little behind now. Every point is very important for us.”

The other Pool C match of the opening day of the Hamburg Elite16 also went to three sets and saw Qatari Olympic medalists Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan prevail over Polish qualifiers Piotr Kantor and Jakub Zdybek 2-1 (21-12, 18-21, 24-22).

Beach Pro Tour Hamburg Elite16 – Match Schedule and Results

Mol, A./Sørum, C. (NOR) vs. George/Andre (BRA) - Pool A #6487357

Mol challenges George with his blocking

In Pool A, reigning Olympic and world champions Anders Mols and Christian Sørum of Norway overcame Brazilians Andre Loyola and George Wanderley 2-1 (21-17, 21-23, 15-11) while Lithuanians Audrius Knasas and Patrikas Stankevicius got a forfeit victory over Dutch Stefan Boermans and Yorick de Groot.

In Pool B, Americans Miles Partain and Andy Benesh were up to a good start, taking down Dutch Olympic medalists Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen in straight sets (21-11, 21-18). On the other match of the day, Spanish qualifiers Pablo Herrera and Adrián Gavira came from behind to claim a 2-1 (16-21, 21-14, 18-16) victory over Italians Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri.

Ehlers/Wickler (GER) vs. Pedro Solberg/Guto (BRA) - Pool D #6489567

Wickler and Ehlers pose after a promising start to their home tournament in Hamburg

Pool D had the only victory of a German team on the first day of the main draw, with Nils Ehlers and Clemens Wickler sweeping (21-11, 21-16) Brazilians Pedro Solberg and Gustavo 'Guto' Carvalhaes, and a massive three-set (21-18, 16-21, 15-13) upset of Italians Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava against reigning European champions David Åhman and Jonatan Hellvig of Sweden.

Pool play continues on Friday at the Am Rothenbaum Stadium, with each team playing two more matches in order to complete their schedules in the opening round of the event - the top three teams in each pool will move forward in the tournament. The elimination rounds will be played on Saturday, with Round of 12 and quarterfinal encounters, while the semifinals and medal matches conclude the event in Germany on Sunday.

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