_1VT0376

Bartosz Losiak celebrates

Poland’s Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak made it from Wednesday’s qualifiers all the way to Sunday’s final where they will face the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen in a duel for the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Hamburg Elite16 men’s gold. The bronze medals will be contested between another Dutch pair, Stefan Boermans and Matthew Immers, and Germany’s Clemens Wickler and Nils Ehlers.

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

Both finalists made it to the gold medal match after winning two straight-setters each on Saturday.

15th-seeded Bryl and Losiak upset third-seeded Czechs Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner in the quarterfinals. The Poles made fewer unforced errors on the way to a narrow 2-0 (22-20, 21-19) victory.

It did not get much easier for Bryl and Losiak in the semifinals where they locked horns with another team emerging from Wednesday’s qualifications, Boermans and Immers. Once again, the first set was pushed to overtime with Bryl’s great blocking effort proving crucial. The Poles dominated the second set as Losiak chipped in with three aces on the way to a 2-0 (22-20, 21-17) close.

As a result, Bryl and Losiak advanced to their fourth Beach Pro Tour final this season, but it will be their first at the Elite16 level. They won gold in Tlaxcala, Doha and Espinho.

Boermans & Immers v Bryl & Losiak match highlights

“In the first qualifier all you think about is how to win and make it to the second round. Then you go step by step and when you are in the final all you think about is how to win the final,” Michall Bryl told Volleyball World. “It was our first game against this Dutch team. We didn’t know how they played, but now I can say that their blocker is really good. It was a good match. We were stable through the end, we won some lucky points too and that’s why we are playing in the final.”

“I would say the harder part was in the qualifiers, because if you play one bad game, you are out of the tournament. I think this qualifier gave as more energy for the games that followed, and now we are ready to play even better in the final,” Losiak added. “Yes, we won three Challengers, but to win a Challenger tournament is not easy either, so those gold medals mean a lot to us. Of course, to be in the final of an Elite16 means more points, more money, more spectators...”

_1VT1199

A well-deserved hug between semifinal winners Brouwer and Meeuwsen

Following a similar path, ninth-seeded Brouwer and Meeuwsen claimed the victory in their quarterfinal match against Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava, after an extended first set. The Dutch pair survived Nicolai’s domination at the net, playing with lots of precision and some excellent serving. In the second set, Brouwer’s attacks and Meeuwsen’s blocks pushed the team forward to a 2-0 (23-21, 21-16) victory.

In the semifinal against Wickler & Ehlers, Meeuwsen’s eight kill blocks cooled off the home team’s inspiration as the Dutch cruised to a 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) win to secure their third Elite16 medal, after a Rosarito silver and the Ostrava bronze.

Robert Meeuwsen’s successful blocks against Ehlers & Wickler

“I am really happy with the way we’ve been playing in a lot of tournaments already, but getting into the final again is, of course, really special,” Meeuwsen told Volleyball World. “It is a really nice place. We love it here, even though the biggest part of the crowd was against us. Actually, there were quite a lot of Dutch fans as well. I am really looking forward to the final tomorrow. We’ll see if the crowd will be cheering for us or for Poland... We’ve got a few medals already this season, but no gold yet, so tomorrow could be a really nice step in the right direction, if we can win it. We are going to focus on our own game, and play our own game, and we’ll see where it ends...”

The men’s final between the Poles and the Dutch is scheduled at 15:00 local time (13:00 GMT). The bronze medal game is set to start an hour earlier, at 14:00 (12:00).