2017-04-18 16:02:00 CEST
In Xiamen, it's all about important points for the Austrian men
Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst don't have to worry. As Austria's number one team, they should be set for the World Cup taking place between July 28th and August 6th in Vienna. With 2.340 points, Alex and Clemens are the best team from Austria in the FIVB World Tour ranking. Behind them however, it is becoming more and more interesting. Four teams fight for the tickets to the World Championships 2007 at home.
Thomas Kunert and Christoph Dressler are pitching for their chance with 1.968 points, Martin Ermacora and Moritz Pristauz-Telsnigg also have options with 1.334 points – and let's not forget about Robin Seidl and Tobias Winter as well as Lorenz Petutschnig and Xandi Huber. Both teams started fresh this season, so until now, they have not had too many chances to collect points together. "It will be tight, we are all very close", Martin Ermacora tells us. Two teams will qualify via FIVB World Ranking. Being host nation, Austria has a good chance to get another two wild cards.
But not wanting to rely on that, the teams have to fight for every single point. At Xiamen 3-star (19.-23. april) all four will meet for the first time at one tournament. Ermacora/Pristauz-Telsnigg won country quota against Florian Schnetzer (27) and Peter Eglseer (26) who took revenge at 1-star in Langkawi last weekend where they sent their countrymen back home in the quarter-final and won the silver medal in the end. Maybe they will get involved in the fight for the WCC-tickets as well. In Xiamen, Ermacora/Pristauz-Telsnigg will play qualification, Kunert/Dressler, Huber/Petutschnig and Seidl/Winter will start in the main draw. Martin is confident: "We practiced hard during the winter and with Martin Plessl we have a new coach, who helped us a lot to develop."
Last year at Klagenfurt Major the 23-year-old and his partner Peter (21) showed that they can be a threat against big teams. "For sure, that was no one-hit-wonder" Martin says. "In Vienna we want to make the next step. The closing date for qualification is 30 days before the start of the WCC. That will be very exciting", Robin Seidl says. Just three tournaments are left that still count. "Now it's all about bringing results“, he says. With Tobi, he already played Fort Lauderdale Major and the 3-star at Kish Island. "The first two tournaments have been very important for us to work on our communication on the court", Robin says. "We had some good performances, now we have to play more consistently. If we manage to do that, we can be one of Austria's top two teams."
In Xiamen the 27-year-old will meet his former teammate Xandi Huber. The same applies for Tobias Winter and Lorenz Petutschnig, who played together last year as well. "A face-to-face duel will not happen before the quarter-final", Robin says knowingly, adding "If that will happen, I think we will all be very happy.“ He is seeing a little advantage on his side. "Just because we had the chance to collect a little more experience at competitions together."
Xandi and Lorenz will play their first tournament together at Xiamen-3-star. It will be the first major test for Lorenz since he had shoulder surgery last year. "I am not at one hundert per cent at the moment, but my shoulder is fine and a competition is exactly the right thing for us at the moment“ he says.
Martin Ermarcora ist looking forward to the big battle. "We have never played against each other in a competition, neither in practice“ he says. The Austrian men will get home support from Steffi Schwaiger/Kathi Schützenhöfer, who also start into the season in Xiamen as well as from Conny Rimser/Lena Plesiutschnig and Nadine and Teresa Strauss, who placed third and fourth in Malaysia.
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