Edmonton, Canada, July 20, 2019 - Advancing to the semifinals of the inaugural Edmonton Open proved to be expensive for Nico Beeler and Marco Krattiger, but the Switzerland pair doesn't regret the cost of changing their airline tickets after winning two matches here Saturday to advance to the finals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World tour event.
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Seeded 10th in the $150,000 Edmonton Open, Beeler and Krattiger posted a 2-0 (25-23, 21-13) semifinal win in 33 minutes over second-seeded Billy Allen/Stafford Slick of the United States to advance to the Sunday men's gold medal match against top-seeded Grant O'Gorman/Ben Saxton of Canada.
After posting a 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) quarterfinal win in 36 minutes over ninth-seeded Kusti Nolvak/Mart Tiisaar of Estonia, Beeler and Krattiger had to change their departure time from Sunday morning to a later time to participate in Sunday's medal rounds.
In winning their fourth-straight Edmonton match after losing in pool play Thursday, Krattiger said his team “didn’t play well on either of our pool play matches and our mood wasn’t the best because of that. Fortunately, we got to change it and we came back strong against Germany and since then we’ve been playing better. We just took it game-by-game and I think that was the key.”
In advancing to their first final as a team, Beeler said it “feels awesome. We’re having a tough year because Marco got injured and we lost a lot of points and didn’t qualify to the World Championships. I’ve been in the semifinals a couple of times before and it’s great to know that we have a silver medal guaranteed this time, but we’re going for the gold ones.”
Saxton, who is playing in his home province in Canada, and O’Gorman advanced to the finals with a pair of wins starting with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-17) quarter-final win in 36 over sixth-seeded Chase Budinger/Casey Patterson of the United States. To reach the finals against the Swiss, Saxton and O’Gorman posted a 2-0 (21-11, 21-17) win in 34 minutes over 16th-seeded Alex Ranghieri/Marco Caminati of Italy.
Canadians Grant O'Gorman (left) and Ben Saxton
After the match with the Italians, the 30-year old Saxton said "we stayed steady and didn’t make many mistakes on our side. We made all the plays that we could and it was just a very good of a match from us. We came here to try to win the tournament and the fact that we made it to the final means one more step forward.”
In playing the Swiss for the second time on the FIVB World Tour this season, Saxton said he expects "they’re going to come strong and hit the ball hard, that’s how they play. So we need to be ready to block and defend well and just do everything we did today.”
Two months ago in Itapema, Brazil, Saxton and O'Gorman posted a 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) FIVB World Tour elimination win in 31 minutes over Beeler and Krattiger.
The Edmonton Open concludes Sunday with the men’s and women’s medal match where the winning teams net the $10,000 first-place prizes along with collecting 600 Olympic qualifying points for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.