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2017-08-05 20:39:00 CET

The Austrian dream reaches final day

Clemens Doppler and Alex Horst reach the semi-finals of their home World Championships

Can Doppler/Horst win a medal on home sand in Vienna? They are one game away from the finalCan Doppler/Horst win a medal on home sand in Vienna? They are one game away from the final

Clemens Doppler laid claim to the toughest game of his career as his and Alex Horst’s FIVB World Championships presented by A1 dream continued in the Red Bull Beach Arena.

The Viennese favorites are now just one win away from guaranteeing themselves a medal, battling back from a gargantuan first set to defeat Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak in three sets.

Not only that, but this epic was the longest game of the tournament at 85 minutes, a thoroughly exhausting affair both physically and mentally for the 12th seeds.

But when you’ve got the cheers of 10,000 fans behind you, that necessary burst of energy is not far away when you are Doppler.

“It was the toughest game of our career, we knew that one more step would have us playing for the medals in front of our home audience,” he said of the 31-33 21-18 15-11 victory.

It’s a dream come true, we never gave up. In the games across the days we’ve always been fighting, we sat very tight and had the set ball in our hand, and with this audience it is very easy to push.

“If you have fun you play easily, and that is our secret at the moment. This kind of team play very differently than all the others, they play quick sets and that’s something that affected the rhythm in our serve early on.

“We have had a lot of games like that, not many in the World Championship quarter-finals, that’s for sure, but the experience of those and the past few matches really helped us.”

Into the final four for the very first time, the Austrian dream has scintillated from first point to last in the Red Bull Beach Arena – one they don’t want ending anytime soon.

Pressure on themselves to perform may no longer be on their shoulders, but with a chance to step on the podium within touching distance, the stakes have never been higher for Doppler/Horst.

One more win would guarantee them silver, but it’s not going to be an easy task with Russian sixth seeds Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin waiting in the wings on Sunday.

Doppler added: “The Russians are very good, we’ve played them twice so far this season and we’ve beaten them once.

“That win was in Austria too, so let’s see. We are the underdog again, they have played a sensational tournament in a sensational season, so let’s see what happens in front of the fans.

“The fans do everything for us. We have a strategy and a gameplan, but then you step out and see 10,000 people cheering for you. That takes your limit above 100 per cent.”

Can Doppler/Horst go all the way in Vienna? The semi-finals and final of the competition take place on Red Bull Beach Arena on Sunday, and you can follow it all, live and for free on BeachStream. Click here to sign-up!

There was not a spare seat in the house on the Red Bull Beach Arena courtThere was not a spare seat in the house on the Red Bull Beach Arena court

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