Big comeback takes Ehlers and Wickler to the elimination rounds
The Germans came from behind to top Americans Bourne and Schalk and will now play for a direct spot in the quarterfinals
Pubblicato 04:57, 24 Mar 2023
The only team in their pool to end the day undefeated, the Germans have their presences confirmed in the elimination rounds of the second Elite16 tournament of the year and will return to the sand at the Amado Nervo Auditorium on Friday to fight for a direct spot in the quarterfinals.
There was no shortage of talent in Pool B, but the Germans, who are in their second season as partners, had the skills and the nerves to navigate it and end the first day of the main draw in Mexico undefeated.
Ehlers, 29, and Wickler, 27, started their campaign in Tepic with an emphatic two-set (21-18, 21-16) victory over reigning European champions David Åhman and Jonatan Hellvig of Sweden. Later, they displayed a lot of mental strength to come back from a tough first-set loss and beat Americans Tri Bourne and Chaim Schalk in the tie-breaker (28-30, 21-17, 15-5).
“Our teamwork was a big reason for our win against the Americans,” Ehlers explained. “At certain points, one of us was struggling and the other one was there to help. We both had difficult moments in the first set and they also played very well, but I’m glad that we managed to remain calm and focused and that we got to win the last two sets.”
With their spot in the elimination rounds guaranteed, the Germans will now try to finish first in their pool and advance directly to the quarterfinals and, at the very least, repeat the fifth-place finish they had in Doha last month. To do that, they need to defeat Czechs Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner, who are last in the pool after they lost to Americans and Swedish on Thursday.
“Our coach and our scout will get us all the info we need for tomorrow,” Wickler added. “They’ll now watch a lot of film and tomorrow before the match they will tell us what the game plan is. Hopefully we can execute well tomorrow too.”
Two teams were as successful as the Germans were in Pool A and are also guaranteed in the elimination rounds in Tepic. Reigning Olympic, world and Beach Pro Tour champions Anders Mol and Christian Sørum of Norway are one of them as the Beach Volley Vikings topped Italy’s Paolo Nicoali/Samuele Cottava in straight sets (21-19, 21-13) and Qatar’s Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan 2-1 (21-91, 16-21, 15-11).
Italians Daniele Lupo and Enrico Rossi, who came from Wednesday's qualifier, had the exact same campaign on the first day of the main draw in Mexico, overcoming the Qatari Olympic medallists in the tie-breaker (18-21, 21-16, 15-12) and prevailing over their compatriots in two sets (21-15, 21-19).
Pool B’s match schedule will be completed on Friday, with Mol/Sørum and Lupo/Rossi playing for the top spot and the berth in the quarterfinals while Nicolai/Cottafava and Cherif/Ahmed will battle for survival.
Friday’s match schedule, which starts at 11:00 local time (18:00 UTC) for the men, will have the conclusion of pool play and the Round of 12, which will reunite teams ranked second and third in their pools. The four pool winners will advance directly to the quarterfinals and will only get back on the court on Saturday.