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2017-07-28 17:35:00 CEST

Opening Austrian crowd wows Schwaiger

A raucous Red Bull Beach Arena paves the way for a Friday victory for the hosts

Victorious Austrians Katarina and Steffi are all smiles after their win over ThailandVictorious Austrians Katarina and Steffi are all smiles after their win over Thailand

Not even Katharina Schützenhöfer and Stefanie Schwaiger themselves expected an opening-day crowd on Red Bull Beach Arena to be so big.

But the home favourites needed every drum beat, cheer and flag wave going to get through their opening the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship presented by A1 match, in dramatic fashion to open the competition in style.

Missing out on four match points in the second set, the Austrians were forced to a decider by Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee, a match the raucous Viennese crowd will not forget in a hurry.

Schützenhöfer and Schwaiger took the first set 21-16, but when their Thai opponents saved the game with a 22-20 second rubber, we were all set for a thriller of a decider.

And it didn’t disappoint, with the two inseparable in the third set before the hosts finally got the vital score to take it 17-15 – much to the delight of the partisan crowd.

“It was amazing, we didn’t expect there to be so many supporters on the first day, there were so many people and the spectators were fantastic, the atmosphere was awesome,” said Schwaiger.

“They gave us so much energy in that third set and we really needed that, it was a tough game and we had to pull it off in the last one in order to get the win.

“You only have to think from one point to another, you can’t think about match points – both teams had them (match points) and sometimes you can get a mistake, it happens and you have to move on.

“You have to think it is still 0-0, you play from point to point. If we didn’t forget it about it after the second set then we would have lost the third one.

“The crowd was superb, hopefully they can be like that for the next game but we won’t think any further ahead than that, it’s important that we don’t otherwise we will be disappointed.”

The 12th seeds are back in action on Saturday, when they play Russia’s Ekaterina Birlova and Nadezda Makroguzova at 4pm CET.

You can watch all the Austrians and every game from the World Championships, live on BeachStream. Click here to sign-up!

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