2017-08-04 08:00:00 CEST
We're at the business end of the competition, so make sure you don't miss this Friday action
We’re into the closing stages of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1, but the party is only just getting started.
In just a few hours’ time the line-up for the women’s final will be decided, while just eight men’s teams will be left in the bid for beach volleyball's golden prize.
You simply cannot miss anything on Friday, but we’ve picked out a few moments you must, must, must watch as the drama, entertainment and class ramp up.
Olympic champions to open the show
No men’s team has ever defended their World Championship crown, but with Alison and Bruno on court, the chance still remains for history to be made.
They may be fifth seeds this time around, but the Olympic champions know what it takes to win big – and they won’t give up their title without a fight.
Canada’s Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk stand in their way of the quarterfinals, themselves knowing they are just one win away from equaling their fifth-place best finish.
But they won’t want to look at the head-to-head record – the Brazilians lead 8-1, including taking each of the last six meetings.
Red Bull Beach Arena, 11am CET
Women’s quarterfinals take center-stage
5v4, 1v9, 7v2, 15v14. The women’s quarterfinals in Vienna will certainly be full of tight tussles and enthralling match-ups, even when you look beyond the seedings.
As if to add to the mix, two teams from each of Brazil, Canada, Germany and the United States are represented – including an all-Brazilian clash between frequent winners Larissa/Talita and Antonelli/Salgado.
That game is on Side Court 2, but you’ll definitely have to be in two places at once as Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat take on Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst on the Red Bull Beach Arena – both determined to get their hands on the trophy.
They’ll be followed on to the Red Bull Beach Arena by one of the most intriguing matches of the tournament so far, as in-form Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes take on Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude, winners of the Gstaad Major.
The last semifinal place will be decided on Side Court 2, where the 15th seeds Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson take on 14th-ranked Americans Lauren Fendrick and April Ross.
Red Bull Beach Arena, 12pm and 1pm CET
Side Court 2, 12pm and 1pm CET
Can the Austrian heroes break their duck?
Clemens Doppler and Alex Horst have already wowed the Viennese crowds so much so far, but expect the noise levels to hit another level come Friday afternoon.
Just one more win takes them to a place they have never been before, with Qatar’s Jefferson Santos Pereira and Cherif Younousse the only team preventing them from a place in the quarterfinals.
Home support will make a massive difference, but the Qataris are not to be ruled out, with the 23rd seeds continuing to punch above their weight.
They finished fifth at this level just two years ago and have dropped just one set in the competition to date, while also edging the one previous meeting between the two teams.
Women’s finalists decided in Friday night showcase
A shot at the trophy or a battle for bronze – that’s what will be decided on Friday night on the Red Bull Beach Arena.
If you thought playing one game in the heat was tough, then spare a thought for the women who will be faced with two on one day – but the victors won’t be worried about that when they take a place in the final.
The line-up won’t be decided until the afternoon’s quarterfinals, but we do know that Talita/Larissa or Antonelli/Salgado will play Ross/Sweat or Ludwig/Walkenhorst.
Bansley/Wilkerson or Fendrick/Ross will take on either Humana-Paredes/Pavan or Laboureur/Sude.
Red Bull Beach Arena, 5.30pm and 6.45pm CET
Could this be your perfect summer job?
Danube Island set for another sandsational beach takeover
Vienna’s silver medalists honored by their home city
In his latest blog, Ben reflects on the World Champs...