2018-01-11 15:00:00 CEST

Silverboys set for Euro return

World Champs runners-up Doppler/Horst start their 2018 season

Having won silver in Vienna last year, Doppler/Horst play their first tournament of 2018 this weekHaving won silver in Vienna last year, Doppler/Horst play their first tournament of 2018 this week

The 2018 international beach volleyball season started for several teams last week, when they competed in the four-star World Tour event in The Hague, but some of the biggest names in the sport will kick-off their seasons this week in the Czech Republic at the 2018 European Masters – the first indoor tournament of this magnitude held in the continent.

Among those teams heading to Pelhrimov are the silver medalists of the 2017 World Championships, Austrians Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst. Ranked ninth in the World Tour ranking, the veterans will start their seventh season together looking to keep their recent success in the international sands.

In six seasons, Doppler and Horst have competed in 65 international tournaments together, taking home two golds, six silvers and two bronzes. They shared the court for the last time in the 2017 World Tour Finals, in Hamburg, Germany, last August, where they finished fifth.

Indoor 2018 Winter Beach Volleyball Masters announced in Pelhřimov (CZE)

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Doppler and Horst will face strong competition in the men’s tournament as some of the best European teams are set to fight for the gold medal in the indoor courts of Pelhrimov, such as Poland’s Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak and the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, who won silver and bronze in The Hague, and Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins.

The event starts with the qualification stage on Thursday, which will have some heavyweights competing, including new Italian team of Alex Ranghieri and Marco Caminati, The Hague’s gold medalists Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs of Latvia and the Netherlands’ Christiaan Varenhorst and Jasper Bouter.

The women’s contest will be highlighted by fan favorites Barbora Hermannová/Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilová of Czech Republic. Germany’s Karla Borger/Margareta Kozuch, Switzerland’s Nina Betschart/Tanja Hüberli and the Netherlands’ Sanne Keizer/Madelein Meppelink are some of the other contenders in Pelhrimov.

#tb to our last time in @beachwell_czech 🏆let's see how it goes this year😁. If you want to be part of it and check out some really top beachvolleyball, come this Friday, Saturday & Sunday to #Pelhrimov 🏖 #cevmasters #beachwell #beachvolleyball #tournament #european #tour

473 Likes, 3 Comments - Team Hermannová & Sluková (@bara.maki.beach) on Instagram: "#tb to our last time in @beachwell_czech 🏆let's see how it goes this year😁. If you want to be part..."

In the women’s qualification tournament, all eyes will be on Italian star Marta Menegatti, who will restart her Rio 2016 Olympics partnership with Laura Giombini after playing with Rebecca Perry last year. Dutch two-time Olympian Marleen van Iersel will also compete for a main draw spot having new partner Joy Stubbe by her side for only the second time.

The full schedule and the complete list of teams can be found in the tournament website, and we’ll have a round-up of all the action online on Monday.

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