2018-07-12 17:37:00 CEST

Italian outsiders 'can't believe' it

Andreatta/Abbiati and Lupo/Nicolai keep progressing in Gstaad

Andreatta is playing in just his seventh World Tour eventAndreatta is playing in just his seventh World Tour event

Italy advanced two men’s teams in to the Swatch Major Gstaad’s Round of 16 as Tiziano Andreatta/Andrea Abbiati and Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai remain in contention for medals in the Swiss Alps.

Andreatta and Abbiati, who are competing in their first Beach Major Series event, played just one game on Thursday and they came out on top in the Italian duel with Marco Caminati and Enrico Rossi, defeating their compatriots in straight sets (21-17, 21-13).

The duo, which took Brazilian Olympic champion Alison Cerutti and world champion Andre Loyola down in the first pool match, are playing just their seventh event as a team and have a bronze medal won a one-star event in Oman in March as its best result.

“It’s incredible and unbelievable,” Andreatta commented. “It’s our first time in the Beach Major Series as we just started playing internationally this season. We started on qualification and to be here now…we can’t believe it yet.”

Abbiati and Andreata will play Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen for a berth in Gstaad’s quarterfinals on Friday.

Lupo and Nicolai had a rough start in Gstaad, losing their first match in the tournament to Americans Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb, but they bounced back with a pair of wins to secure their spots among the best 16 teams of the event.

The Rio 2016 silver medalists survived to pool play after a straight-set (21-12, 21-16) victory over Germans Phillipp Bergmann and Yannick Harms and returned to action a few hours later to grab a three-set (17-21, 21-15, 15-) win against Canadians Sam Pedlow and Sam Schachter.

They will now face Polish Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl in the Round of 16 for a place in the quarterfinals.

“It was a great feeling because we were down and we weren’t playing well,” Nicolai said after the victory over the Canadians. “We pushed harder than in the first set and it worked. We’re happy because they’re really consistent and strong, so it’s a good win for us. Every game is tough in the Major Series. You can win or lose every match.”

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