2017-08-01 12:35:00 CEST
Sophie van Gestel and Dutch partner Madelein Meppelink overcome the defending champion to reach the knockouts
From party-poopers to pool-toppers, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 begins from this moment on for Madelein Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel.
Opponent Duda may have been the one celebrating a birthday on court, but it was the Dutch team who were left smiling come the final point on the Danube Island.
A 21-19, 21-15 victory was enough to catch their Brazilian opponents, featuring world champion Agatha, very much by surprise – also securing their place in the knockout stages from top spot in Pool C.
That provided them a feeling of job done, recovering emphatically from losing their opening game of the tournament to take their place in the last 32.
“It’s given us the rest of the day off which is nice, the tournament starts now for us, we’ve done what we needed to do to get through the pool stage,” said van Gestel.
“I’m really happy that we won, we started with a loss and were disappointed, but we still knew that we had two more matches so we’re very happy with how we have played since.
“In the first game there was perhaps a bit of stress, knowing it is the World Championships, but we’ve had some more confidence in the last couple of games and we’ve been able to give everything.”
The Brazilians are ranked third in this competition, but it was the 22nd seed Dutch duo that took the opening set, in a tight affair which neither side looked set to relinquish.
But after holding their own to win 21-19 and put themselves one set from victory, Meppelink/van Gestel stepped it up a level to take the second 21-15, scoring enough points to sit top of the pile at the end of the round-robin stage.
And with a win over defending champion Agatha and starlet Duda under their belts, confidence is understandably high as the next round of matches await.
“We won the first set despite being behind for a lot of it, but we knew that the Brazilians are a good team and that they would come back,” added van Gestel.
“But we played well, kept pushing and were able to win 2-0.
“They are a top, medal-winning team so it’s a good win, especially in this tournament.”
The knockout stages are beginning to take shape, and you can follow all the games live on BeachStream. Click here to sign-up!
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