Top seeds McHugh and Burnett advance to semi finals after gritty day of action at Cobram Barooga Classic
It’s been a day of challenges, upsets and massive three-set games in the Elite Men’s division at the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour Cobram Barooga-Classic.
The number one men’s seed, Tokyo Olympian Chris McHugh and his new partner Paul Burnett have had to fight tooth and nail for their spot in Sunday’s semi finals.
After a convincing straight set win (21-10, 21-11) against the #16 seeds and up-and-coming Australian Volleyball Academy players Chaz Pucko and Seth Chen in the first match on Friday, Saturday’s first match provided a bit of a shock to the top ranked players.
Taking on 8th seed Matthew Abela and Martin Kaufer, the match went to a three-set thriller with Kaufer / Abela taking the win (21-16, 18-21, 12-15) and sending them straight through to the quarter finals.
McHugh and Burnett then had to play Christopher Blake/Robert Reeves to advance to the quarter finals, claiming a 2-0 victory (21-14, 21-15).
Coming up against #4 seeds James Takken and Mateusz Zieba in the quarter finals, it was another very tight 3-set match.
It was point-for-point for a lot of the first set, with McHugh/Burnett edging out to take the first set 21-16.
However Takken and Zieba came back fighting and took the second set convincingly, 21-12.
It was point-for-point in the third set until Takken and Zieba got a break and went to match point at 14-11. However McHugh showed his experience under pressure and survived multiple match points to take the tie breaker 19-17.
Burnett said he was really happy to secure the win in what was a “stressful game”.
“It was an incredible game, those boys played unbelievably,” Burnett said.
“James Takken made so many digs back there so made it super tough for us. We faced I think five match points in the end, so to be able to hang tough and get it done, we’re really happy to get the win to play again tomorrow.”
Reflecting on their earlier loss to Abela and Kaufer, Burnett said it was important they remained calm through the later games to advance to finals on Sunday,
“It’s been a super tough day after a three-set loss this morning, we had to regroup and refocus.
“For us, we know how we want to go about things, so it’s really just about resetting, getting back to the stuff we can do well, trying to execute what we can control and let the game take care of itself.”
The duo will play at 9.30am on Sunday in the semi final against 11th seed Sam Halley and Matt Reeves, who defeated Abela and Kaufer 1-2 (15-21, 21-13, 15-17)
Also advancing through to Sunday’s semi finals include #3 seed Izac Carracher and Mark Nicolaidis, who defeated Jack Pearse and Solomon Bushby 2-0 (21-13, 21-17)
They’ll face #2 seed Tom Hodges and Max Guehrer at 9.30am after they defeated Bryce Poland /Patrick Tang in another epic three-set match 2-1 (21-12, 20-22, 15-8).
Tomorrow’s Men’s Elite Bronze Medal Match will be streamed live on SBS on Demand at 12.30pm AEDT after the Women’s Bronze Medal Match.
Then, tune in live to SBS Australia for the Women’s Gold Medal Match live from 2pm, with the Men’s final to follow at 3pm.
For all results and draws, click HERE