2017-08-06 17:23:00 CET
They missed out on the gold and silver prizes, but Russia were still smiling on the Danube Island
Nikita Liamin believes nothing in beach volleyball was more important for his country than ending up on the podium of a World Championships.
The Russian teamed up with Viacheslav Krasilnikov to take bronze on Vienna’s Red Bull Beach Arena, avenging their semi-final defeat just a few hours ago to end on a high.
That came thanks to a thoroughly-convincing victory over Dutch pair Maarten van Garderen and Christiaan Varenhorst, winning in straight sets to leave Austria with a little bit of extra luggage.
The 21-17, 21-17 scoreline was nothing less than they deserved too, delighted to be able to avenge their earlier defeat and showing a much better display in the process.
“We feel great, we are happy now because we got that medal, the semi-final was very tough for us and psychologically it was very difficult to deal with,” said Liamin.
“It’s bronze, that’s very important for us and for Russia too.
“The Austrian team had a great serve in the early game, that posed a big problem for us, but now we were able to make a good side-out and had a strong defence this time, it was important for us to do that.
“The Dutch are a very good team, they have a great block and it was a big problem for us, but we were able to get the better of them.”
For Netherlands wildcards van Garderen and Varenhorst, it was a disappointing second defeat of the tournament, losing their semifinal after dazzling throughout the competition in Vienna.
That meant Varenhorst couldn’t take a second successive medal to follow up his silver from two years ago, one he achieved on home sand at The Hague.
But the 27-year-old was in no doubt about where they fell short on the final Sunday on Danube Island.
He said: “We would have loved to win a medal here, we were in the semi-finals and had two chances to win the medal but didn’t do it. Fourth can be the worst place to finish.
“If I’m realistic, the teams were just better than us, more focused than we were and in a few hours I will look back on fourth place and be happy with it.
“There wasn’t one key moment in that match that changed the game, from the start we weren’t in the match that much and we were in a lot of trouble, they had a block defense and we couldn’t get through.
“We’d forgotten about the last match, we’re used to playing multiple games in one day so that didn’t affect us, we just weren’t good enough on the day to be able to do it.”
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