2017-08-05 13:38:00 CEST
Wildcards they may be, but the Dutch stars are World Championship semi-finalists
Christiaan Varenhorst believes his and Maarten van Garderen’s ability to “fight like tigers” was the deciding factor in taking them to the semifinals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1.
All throughout the competition the Dutch wildcards have provided an unknown quantity, an attribute that once again delivered to beat Spain’s Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera in three sets on Red Bull Beach Arena.
They had to do it the hard way however, coming from behind after losing the first set – while they were also ahead in the tie-break only in the very closing stages.
But Varenhorst was in little doubt they could pull off something special, full of admiration for the way they coped under the pressure of a quarter-final, now preparing to face Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola for a place in the final.
“You want to play for medals, they are what is eternal in beach volleyball. Fifth places and ninth places are great, but we always wanted more,” said the 2015 finalist.
“I’ve been in this situation before and we want to win, I’m so happy to be able to play for medals again.
“We’ve shown we can fight like tigers. We keep on fighting however far behind we are – that is our deciding factor.
“A gold medal here would not make up for the final from before, this would be fantastic and I am not someone who is out for revenge. We got some luck in the end, but we played with guts.
“Sometimes a lot goes through my head, but I decided to play focusing on each shot – just focusing on the serve, and then each individual shot after that. It’s not easy, but it’s something I’ve learnt over the years.”
While Varenhorst knows what it takes on this stage, this is entire new ground for beach convert van Garderen, switching from indoor in an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Coming from no ranking points meant they were granted a wildcard just to get to Vienna, an opportunity they are certainly making the most of – with just more win seeing them take their place on the podium.
And having never even left the pool stage as a pair, van Garderen was delighted to reflect on a switch that could take him all the way.
He said: “We knew each other from years before, and he told me he was searching for a player who can make a good side-out and have a good impact in defense – luckily he chose me!
“I realised the chance I was being given to play with this guy, it was a challenge I could almost not say no to.
“In the first few weeks I realised just how much more energy you needed on the beach – I thought I was physically in shape, but moving around is so much different.”
Can the Dutch duo go all the way? You can find out by watching live and free on BeachStream. Click here to sign-up!
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