Estonians Nolvak & Tiisaar lead European surge in Edmonton

Edmonton, Canada, July 19, 2019 - Led by ninth-seeded Kusti Nolvak/Mart Tiisaar of Estonia, five European men's teams have advanced to the quarterfinals of the US$150,000 Edmonton Open after winning Round of 16 matches here Friday at Northlands Park.

Each of the five teams posted two elimination wins Friday as Nolvak and Tiisaar posted the biggest seed-break-through of the day by ousting third-seeded Nils Ehlers/Lars Fluggen of Germany 2-1 (14-21, 22-20, 15-9) in a 44-minute Round of 16 match.

“I think we served really well and made some big plays in crucial moments,” said the 27-year old Nolvak, who was born one day later in November 1991 than Tiisaar.  “Ehlers’ block is huge, and I struggled with it at times.  In some moments, my goal was just to play the ball on his block and cover and play it again. I felt they were a bit stressed in the end, perhaps because in theory they were the better team, and we took advantage of it.”

Tiisaar said “every victory is big in the World Tour. But, of course, beating such a good team in an important moment of the tournament here makes us happy. We didn’t play much in the World Tour in the last couple of months and we thought that this event would provide us a better chance than Espinho this week, so we’re glad it’s paying off.”

After losing their first match Thursday in Pool H play to a team from Latvia, Nolvak and Tiisaar rebounded with a 2-0 (21-11, 39-37) win in 51 minutes over eighth-seeded Christoph Dressler/Alexander Huber of Austria to advance to Friday's schedule.

The Estonians, who are guaranteed a fifth in Edmonton to match their season-best finish achieved in March in Australia at the Sydney Open, started play Friday with a first-round elimination victory over 17th-seeded Quentin Metral/Florian Breer of Switzerland 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) in 36 minutes.

Two rounds of men's action Saturday begins with quarterfinal matches featuring top-seeded Grant O'Gorman/Ben Saxton of Canada meeting sixth-seeded Chase Budinger/Casey Patterson of the United States, 13th-seeded Mathias Berntsen/Hendrik Mol of Norway playing 16th-seeded Alex Ranghieri/Marco Caminati of Italy, Nolvak/Tiisaar confronting 10th-seeded Nico Beeler/Marco Krattiger of Switzerland and 11th-seeded Sergiy Popov/Iaroslav Gordieiev of the Ukraine challenging second-seeded Americans Billy Allen/Stafford Slick.

The inaugural Edmonton Open, the first Olympic qualifying event in Canada since 2011, concludes Sunday with the men's and women's medal matches as the winning pairs net the $10,000 first-place prizes and 600 qualifying points for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. 


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