2017-08-04 16:20:00 CEST
Just months since their partnership started, the Dutch pair are World Championship quarterfinalists
Since the moment they formed the partnership, Christiaan Varenhorst and Maarten van Garderen knew there was something special in store – now they have a FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 quarterfinal to celebrate.
The Dutch pair have simply laughed at their 45th seed prediction in the competition, and the wildcards show no signs of stopping after battling past the resilient Cubans, Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez.
They had to do it the hard way, surrendering four second-set match points to be forced into a decider, but in the tie-break they were in clinical fashion, winning 21-13, 23-21, 15-13.
The last eight now beckons for this exciting pair, with the experience of a World Championship silver medalist and the raw talent of a beach-convert working wonders so far.
“We started off with a really good gameplan, excellent serves so we were able to get into a 6-1 lead and make the first step happen,” explained van Garderen.
“It was tough but we fought for every single point, got some great moments and it was unbelievable, we were comfortably into the match but it was a real mental battle.
“We’ve gelled really well, over the past three months we have got a habit of winning, we weren’t at the very high level but we’ve learnt how to win, and win tight matches.
“We’ve had a great development, it’s been really cool so far and we’ve been really enjoying getting better.”
Wildcards by name, wild players by nature – the flying Dutchmen have really hit their stride when it comes to the knockouts.
The next hurdle on their road to success comes in the shape of Spanish ninth seeds Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera.
And with the sky the limit and pressure of their backs, they are keen to look both forward and back on their brilliant journey so far.
Varenhorst added: “We always believed in ourselves, from the beginning we had the feeling that this cooperation could be a good one, with his experience and the level he is on already is very good to have in a partner.
“I tried to work as hard as possible, our goal in this tournament has already been achieved in the round-of-32, but we are not stopping. We believe in more.
“Quite early on we beat a first main-draw team, and from that point on we were confident we could reach really high. When we play well, we can be up there with the top teams.
“We knew we had to be consistent, we can play well against the top teams, but at the end of the day it’s all about winning.”
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