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Matthew Immers in action

All four of the teams who progressed to the main draw from Wednesday’s qualifications at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Hamburg Elite16 men’s event advanced further into Saturday’s quarterfinals. The Netherlands’ Stefan Boermans and Matthew Immers and Poland’s Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak even topped the standings in their pools, showing how deep, how level and how unpredictable competition at the top level of international beach volleyball is.

· Watch all main draw matches at the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Hamburg live on Volleyball TV.

In their last Pool C match on Friday, Boermans and Immers did not allow Czechia’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner another comeback in this campaign. With Boermans fantastic on the block (seven stuffs for the match), the Dutch team took the first set. The Czechs started working their magic in turning the match around and won the second. However, this time they could not go all the way. The hard-fought tie-breaker was pushed into overtime before Boermans and Immers emerged with a 2-1 (21-18, 18-21, 17-15) victory.

Right after the match, they were not yet immediately sure if that result would be enough to progress, but as soon as they found out that Italy’s Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi claimed a 2-1 (17-21, 21-12, 15-8) win over Estonia’s Kusti Nolvak and Mart Tiisaar on centre court, Boermans and Immers could rejoice as the pool winners, advancing to the quarterfinals alongside second-placed Perusic and Schweiner.

Stefan Boermans’ top points against Perusic & Schweiner

“We only knew that we had to win and hope that Carambula and Rossi would also win. Apparently, it has just happened!” Boermans told Volleyball World. “It’s beach volleyball! It’s crazy! Luckily, somehow we managed and they helped us with that too. After a good game yesterday, when we beat the Italians, now we won a tough match with Perusic and Schweiner. We had good game tactics against them, we played our best game and we won! So we are pretty happy! We’ll see what the rest of the tournament and the rest of the year bring for us, because we’re not done yet.”

“I am exhausted! It was a really tough game and it’s really hot here. We knew that they had already won two three-setters on day one and it would be a tough game, but we managed to win in the end,” Immers added. “It’s amazing to play with Stefan. He gets so many blocks and defending is so much easier behind him. I am really happy to play with him.”

Andre & George v Bryl & Losiak match highlights

Bryl and Losiak had also started their Pool B campaign with a loss on Thursday, but made up for it with two wins to top the final pool standings. In their Friday game, the Poles delivered a 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-11) upset of World Ranking leaders, second-seeded Brazilians Andre Stein and George Wanderley, and knocked them out of the tournament. In the other deciding match in that pool, Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava managed a 2-0 (22-20, 21-18) victory over Austria’s Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller, which was enough for the second place and a spot among the quarterfinalists.

Two more Dutch teams advanced from Pool A, where top-seeded world and Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway had to forfeit Friday’s two games as well because of Mol’s continuing illness. Ninth-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen won the all-Dutch encounter with qualifiers Leon Luini and Ruben Penninga by 2-0 (21-14, 21-14) and followed up with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-13) shutout of Brazil’s Bruno Schmidt and Saymon Barbosa not only to top the final pool standings, but also to help their compatriots retain the second place with a ticket to the quarterfinals.

Brouwer & Meeuwsen v Luini & Penninga match highlights

Germany’s Clemens Wickler and Nils Ehlers stayed unbeaten in Pool D. In their first game on Friday, they delivered a 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) sweep of Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira. Then the home team claimed a 2-1 (21-15, 18-21, 15-10) victory over Chile’s Marco and Esteban Grimalt to secure the top of the pool standings. It was down to qualifiers Herrera and Gavira and 2022 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship silver medallists Renato Lima and Vitor Felipe to determine the pool runners-up in a direct duel, as both pairs were on a 1-1 win-loss record. After exchanging two extended sets, they pushed the match to a tie-breaker, in which the Spaniards prevailed to celebrate with a 2-1 (27-25, 20-22, 15-12) win.

On Saturday, at 14:00 local time (12:00 GMT), Perusic and Schweiner will take on Bryl and Losiak on centre court, while Boermans and Immers go against Herrera and Gavira. An hour later, the other two quarterfinals will get underway, with Luini and Penninga facing Ehlers and Wickler on centre court, and Brouwer and Meeuwsen locking horns with Nicolai and Cottafava.