Three teams that secured top ten finishes at last week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge event in Espinho, Portugal, will try to repeat their excellent performances at this week’s Agadir Challenge, in Morocco, starting from Thursday’s qualifiers.
Teams looking to repeat Espinho success in Agadir qualifier
Top ten finishers in Portugal including duos from Spain, Austria and the USA back on the court in Morocco
Published 09:02, 20 Jul 2022
Spain’s Paula Soria/Sofia Gonzalez, Austria’s Dorina Klinger/Ronja Klinger and USA’s Miles Evans/Andy Benesh will all be on the court on the opening day of the event, but after their great success last week, they will certainly be looking for more than just one of the eight main draw spots that will be up for grabs in each gender.
Soria, 29, and Gonzalez, 20, were the most successful among the three duos in Espinho. The Spanish had a remarkable run at the Praia da Baia and came up just one win short of a podium appearance, finishing in fourth place.
They won their first six matches in Portugal before falling to Americans Corinne Quiggle and Sarah Schermerhorn in the semifinals and to Brazilians Andressa Cavalcanti and Vitoria Rodrigues in the bronze medal match, but still had the best result of their young partnership.
Seeded fifth in the Agadir qualifier, the Spanish will need to earn their place in the main draw once again, and they hope they can do more than that and also compete for their first medals in a Challenge tournament.
The Klinger sisters Dorina, 25, and Ronja, 22, had a similar campaign in Espinho, winning five consecutive matches before they were stopped by French Alexia Richard and Lezana Placette in the Round of 16.
The Austrians were ecstatic with their first main draw appearance in a Challenge tournament and will have a chance to follow up on their achievement this week in Agadir, where they will begin as the tenth-best ranked team in the qualifier.
Another women’s team that advanced from the qualifier in Espinho and will try to do so again in Agadir will be Japanese pair Reika Murakami and Suzuka Hashimoto, who didn’t have the same success as the Spanish and Austrians in Portugal and finished 19th. They are seeded 13th in the Agadir qualifier.
On the men’s side, Evans and Benesh will try to show more progress in just their third event as partners. The two won a silver medal in a Futures tournament in Rhodes, Greece, in May, and finished ninth in Espinho with a campaign of four wins and one loss.
They’re seeded sixth in the men’s qualifier and will likely have to win a single elimination match to move forward this time.
Three other men’s teams that overcame the qualifier in Espinho and will try to repeat that feat in Agadir are: Poland’s Jakub Zdybek/Pawel Lewandowski, who were 17th in Portugal, Mexico’s Juan Virgen/Miguel Sarabia and Switzerland’s Immanuel Zurcher/Jonathan Jordan, both finished 19th.
The qualifier in Agadir will feature 26 men’s and 23 women’s teams, with 25 different countries represented. The top eight teams in each gender will secure the last eight spots in the main draw, which begins on Friday in Morocco.