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Surprise upsets at the Mahindra Australian Beach Volleyball Championships set the scene for finals

Surprise upsets at the Mahindra Australian Beach Volleyball Championships set the scene for finals

The penultimate day of the Mahindra Australian Beach Volleyball Championships set the scene for an epic Super Sunday at Volleyslam, with unexpected results headlining the afternoon’ quarter final matches. 

Tour leaders Paul Burnett and Jack Pearse went down in straight sets to new partners Declan Tiso and Mateusz Zieba after the 3pm game saw the latter pair dominate the court (21-19, 21-15).

While Zieba has experience at the top of the podium at the Australian Beach Volleyball Championships, having won at Coolangatta last year, tomorrow’s games will be Tiso’s first finals matches on the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour.

“Tomorrow will be my first Super Sunday so it just feels incredible to have qualified,” said Tiso.

“It was a bit of a slow start for us in the first couple of games but we got it together and the rest of the afternoon went smoothly,” he said.

Accustomed to playing against Zieba, Tiso is thrilled to be playing alongside him at this tournament. The fifth seeds have taken to the new partnership with ease.

“I’ve played against Mat so many times so to join forces with him is fantastic and we really saw our plan come to fruition in our final game today,” said Tiso.

“I know Mat’s game plan pretty well and there’s no bad blood between us even though he’s knocked me out of the tournament so many times,” he joked.

“We compliment each other and work together quite well, both in finding those perfect sets and working defense, so I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s really helped me improve my game a lot over the years so it really is fantastic to play with him.

“We’ll be focusing on passing consistently and getting into a system off the serve tomorrow. I think that was a big difference in that last game, we were passing well and from there were able to open up options for setting,” finished Tiso.

After his 2022/23 partner Daniele Acconci returned to Italy, Zieba has paired up with several players this season, with his best result being third at the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour in Mollymook.

For Zieba, partnering with Tiso for the Mahindra Australian Beach Volleyball Championships was an easy choice.

It’s great to be back in Coolangatta and be playing with Declan. Coolangatta beach is one of the best places to play beach volleyball and I’ve got a good record here, so I’m very happy to be back,” said Zieba.

“We’re doing well and looking forward to our semi tomorrow, hopefully we can play well and maybe even take the title, it would be a dream to go back to back.

“We’ll give 100 percent and hope for a medal,” he finished.

Tiso and Zieba will come up against fourth seeds Justin Schumann and Garang Anyang in tomorrow morning’s semi final, while Ben Hood and D’Artagnan Potts will play New Zealand pair Thomas Reid and John Mcmanaway.

In the women’s draw, seventh seeds Caitlin Bettenay and Phoebe Bell won two from two games today, defeating fifteenth seeds Maya Gessner and Delaney Peranich (USA) 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) and Murakami Megumi and Tsujimura Riko (JPN) 2-0 (21-15, 21-18).

The bronze medallists from the first stop of the 2023/24 Australian Beach Volleyball Tour in Geelong, Bettenay and Bell are looking to put their best foot forward in tomorrow’s competition.

“We had an early start this morning. We played the USA girls who we’ve been training with for the past three days and got the win over them, and then we backed it up against Japan this afternoon,” said Bettenay.

“Our goals are to play our best volleyball every time we step on the sand, to stay connected as a team and back our team values. We want to show our positivity and joy for the game, and of course we’d like to win, so there’s that too.

“We’re going to stick to our processes, rely on our training and enjoy the experience that Super Sunday brings,” she finished.

Along with Maya Gessner/Delaney Peranich (USA) and Georgia Johnson and Tara Phillips, tour leaders Jana Milutinovic and Stefanie Fejes also advance to the semi finals after defeating Developing Volleyroos teammates Elizabeth Alchin and Jasmine Rayner 2-0 (21-17, 21-17).

The final day of the Mahindra Australian Beach Volleyball Championships will be followed by the Australian Youth Beach Volleyball Championships, the Australian Beach Volleyball Schools Cup and the Beach Pro Tour Futures event over the following seven days.

Medal matches on both weekends will be streamed live via SBS on Demand, with gold medal matches from the Mahindra Australian Beach Volleyball Championships also streamed free-to-air on SBS Australia.

WOMEN’S SEMI-FINALS

(1) Jana Milutinovic/Stefanie Fejes v (15) Maya Gessner/Delaney Peranich

(2) Georgia Johnson/Tara Phillips v (7) Caitlin Bettenay/Phoebe Bell 

MEN’S SEMI-FINALS

(5) Declan Tiso/Mateusz Zieba v (4) Justin Schumann/Garang Anyang

(3) Ben Hood/D’Artagnan Potts v (2) Thomas Reid/John Mcmanaway

11am AEST/12pm AEDT Bronze Medal Matches

1:30pm AEST/2:30pm AEDT Gold Medal Matches

Volleyslam 2024 is supported by Experience Gold Coast and the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland.

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