The last four spots in each gender in the main draw of the 2023 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Tepic Elite16 were filled on Wednesday, when the qualifier took place in the two sand courts set up at the Amado Nervo Auditorium.
Tepic Elite16 main draw set after top-level qualifier
Four teams in each gender succeeded in Wednesday’s qualifier and will get back on the sand on Thursday
Gepubliceerd 04:12, 23 Mar 2023
After the completion of the 24 matches of the day, men’s duos from Italy, the Netherlands and USA, and women’s teams from France, Italy, Spain and USA earned the right of competing among the 16 tandems that will fight for the titles in Mexico.
The main draw begins on Thursday, at 9:00 local time (16:00 UTC) and the first 16 pool matches in each gender will be played. By the end of the day, each team will have played a pair of matches in Tepic.
Americans Tri Bourne and Chaim Schalk were among the four men’s teams that succeeded in the men’s qualifier. A new team for the 2023 season, the two are playing in just their second tournament as partners and looking to bounce back from a 19th-place finish last week in La Paz, where they dropped both of their matches.
“Honestly, we didn’t feel at our best out there, but we’re working, we’re a new team,” Schalk remarked. “We’re working through stuff and it was awesome to find that energy and will to make it happen no matter what today. These qualifiers are absolutely gnarly, there are some amazing teams from all over the world here and to get through it was huge for us. We’re hungry and want to make a long run in the tournament.”
The Americans were challenged by a pair of Austrian teams on the qualifier in Tepic, overcoming Martin Ermacora and Philipp Waller in two sets (21-17, 21-15) and Robin Seidl and Moritz Pristauz in the tie-breaker (16-21, 21-19, 15-13).
“You can’t take your time here at the Beach Pro Tour for granted,” Bourne reflected. “It’s so hard to be among the top 16 teams in the world and to get to play in these big events. We’re just going all-in on every match and today it worked out for us.”
Bourne and Schalk will be in Pool B in the main draw, where they’re going to face Sweden’s David Åhman/Jonatan Hellvig, Czechia’s Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner and Germany’s Nils Ehlers/Clemens Wickler.
Their fellow Americans and former partners Trevor Crabb and Theo Brunner will complete Pool C, where they will compete with the Netherlands' Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, Italy’s Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri and Estonia’s Kusti Nõlvak/Mart Tiisaar. The USA duo moved forward with triumphs over Canada's Sam Schachter/Dan Dearing and Brazil's Andre Loyola/George Wanderley.
Joining Pool A will be Italians Daniele Lupo and Enrico Rossi, who advanced after victories over Brazil’s Evandro Gonçalves/Arthur Lanci and Austria’s Alexander Horst/Julian Hörl. They will start their main draw campaigns against Norway’s Anders Mol/Christian Sørum, Qatar’s Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan and compatriots Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava.
Dutch Stefan Boermans and Yorick De Groot are the fourth team in Pool D, which already had Poland’s Michal Bryl/Bartosz Łosiak, Chile’s Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt and Mexico’s Juan Virgen/Miguel Sarabia. The Dutch beat Australia's Chris McHugh/Paul Burnett and Brazil's Vitor Felipe/Renato Lima in the qualifier.
Among the four women’s teams advancing in the women’s qualifier were Spanish Liliana Fernández and Paula Soria. The two are playing only the second event after they became partners, having finished 19th in last week’s La Pa Challenge.
“I think the key was remaining positive and fighting for each point,” Liliana, who recently returned to the sand after giving birth to her second son, said. “We were really focused on siding out well and paying a lot of attention to each step, from passing to hitting. And that worked.”
The Europeans had a strong day in the Tepic qualifier, winning a pair of two-set duels. The Spanish started the day with a 2-0 (38-36, 21-14) victory over Finland’s Niina Ahtiainen/Taru Lathi and followed it up with another two-set (21-18, 21-16) triumph, this time against China’s Meimei Lin/Jinjin Zeng.
“This is just our second tournament together and we’re happy that we made it to the main draw,” Soria added. “The level will only get higher from now on as we’ll be facing the 15 best teams in the world. The goal for us is to learn from these matches and get better every day, but also to enjoy being on the court.”
In the main draw, Liliana and Soria will be part of Pool A, having Brazil’s Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa/Ana Patricia Ramos and Carol Salgado/Bárbara Seixas and Canada’s Brandie Wilkerson/Melissa Humana-Paredes as their next opponents.
Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi overcame Germany’s Julia Sude/Isabel Schneider and USA’s Megan Kraft/Emily Stockman in the qualifier. The Italians were allocated to Pool B in the main draw and will compete with the Netherlands’ Raisa Schoon/Katja Stam, Latvia’s Tina Graudina/Anastasija Samoilova and Canada’s Sarah Pavan/Sophie Bukovec for spots in the elimination rounds.
France’s Alexia Richard and Lézana Placette also survived the qualifier, eliminating New Zealand’s Shaunna Polley/Alice Zeimann and Brazil’s Taiana Lima/Hegeile ‘Hege’ Santos. The French will be entered in Pool C in the main draw, alongside Germany’s Svenja Müller/Cinja Tillmann and USA’s Julia Scoles/Betsi Flint and Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil.
The fourth team to advance was the one of Americans Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss, the winners of last week’s La Paz Challenge. After topping Mexico’s Esperanza Albarran/Yeray Vidaurrazaga and Japan’s Miki Ishii/Sayaka Mizoe in the qualifier, they will now have fellow Americans Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes, Australia’s Mariafe Artacho/Taliqua Clancy and Mexico’s Abril Flores/Atenas Gutierrez as their next opponents on Pool D.