2017-07-06 13:39:00 CEST
Two Swiss teams progress to elimination stage
Switzerland’s hopes of winning a first women’s golden cowbell in Gstaad remain firmly on course after Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Joana Heidrich and Tanja Hüberli and Nina Betschart confirmed their places in the knockout stages with win on Thursday morning.
For Anouk and Joana their stunning comeback victory over Brazilians Barbara/Fernanda was their third in a row on home sand and meant the duo became the first Swiss team to top a pool in Gstaad since 2013.
Their win over the Brazilians was an epic lasting one hour and 11 minutes. Barbara/Fernanda took the first set 21-17 but, roared on a passionate home crowd on Center Court, the Swiss stars bounced back and won the second set in dramatic style 25-23 – surviving two matches points in the process. In the third and final set, the duo played some brilliant beach volleyball to triumph 15-13.
For countrywomen Hüberli and Betschart, they will need to play an extra game in their bid for Gstaad glory. They consolidated second spot in their pool with a comfortable straight sets victory over World Championship-bound Finns Lehtonen/Lahti.
In the past 17 international beach tournaments in Gstaad, Swiss women have only ever won one medal – a bronze in 2013.
So the question is, can either team end the search for a Swiss gold medal winner in the mountains?
“That’s a difficult question, you have to play a lot of games and win them!” said Heidrich. “We’ve not even played our best beach volleyball yet. We’ve won three games but in these matches we have had to fight in them. So we shall see.”
Hüberli, who won bronze in Poreč last week, said: “Everything is possible. You saw in the last tournament that there were a lot of different teams in the semifinals.
“I’m sure Anouk and Jo are able to win against anyone because they are playing so well.
“They will have a bit of a better chance because I think they are looking really fresh and motivated.
“We’re also feeling good but we’ll see how far we can go.”
In the draw for the elimination round, Hüberli/Betschart take on American legends Kerri Walsh Jennings and Nicole Branagh for a place in the last 16.
And it’ll be American opposition for Anouk and Jo too in the last 16 as they will take on the winners of the first elimination round between Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat and Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes.