The main draw at the Beach Pro Tour event in Doha got underway on Friday with participating teams testing themselves at the third Challenge-level tournament of the season.
Bryl and Losiak undefeated, Boermans and De Groot making up for lost time in Qatar
Published 08:38, 06 May 2022
Stefan Boermans and Yorick de Groot had a troubled start to their international season on the Beach Pro Tour, but things seem to be getting back on track for the Dutch at this event in Qatar.
With a pair of victories at the Al Gharafa Beach Courts on Friday, the Europeans took the first steps towards leaving their mishaps behind them and booked a place in the Round of 16, which takes place on Saturday. Their next opponents will be Canadians Sam Schachter and Dan Dearing.
Playing in Doha this week wasn’t in Boermans and de Groot’s plans when they first approached this season’s schedule, but after they were forced to forfeit two matches at the Tlaxcala Challenge due to food poisoning - and couldn’t make the trip to compete at the Itapema Challenge after the defender tested positive for Covid - things changed.
As their only opportunity to play a full tournament in 2022 so far was the Rosarito Elite16, where they finished ninth, the Dutch changed their minds and thought it would be important to get some match rhythm this week in Qatar.
“Our main goal this year is to compete and do well at the World Championship next month,” Boermans told Volleyball World. “We are pretty safe in terms of qualifying for Rome because of the good finishes we had last year, but we feel like we need to compete more times to get there in our best form. The more matches we play here, the more we’ll improve and that’s our goal.”
de Groot/Boermans Highlights vs. Seidl R./Waller
Boermans and de Groot had an excellent start at the Doha Challenge as they topped two duos from Austria to take first place in Pool C. The Dutch had more trouble in the afternoon, when they needed all three sets (21-16, 19-21, 15-9) to beat Julian Horl and Alexander Horst, but in the evening, they prevailed against Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller in two (21-19, 21-17).
“It’s very warm here and we felt a little bit more comfortable in the evening,”, Boermans reflected. “But it was a very good day as we got to win both our matches and finish first in our pool. We’re happy about that, but that’s certainly not what we came here for. We want to play at our best, make a deep run and hopefully win a medal here in Doha.”
Five teams from different countries joined the Dutch as pool winners in Doha as Qatar’s Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan, Poland’s Michal Bryl/Bartosz Losiak, Brazil’s Vitor Felipe/Renato Lima, Italy’s Daniele Lupo/Alex Ranghieri and Australia’s Chris McHugh/Paul Burnett were the other duos that went undefeated on the first day of the main draw.
The second best teams in each pool are also guaranteed a place in the Round of 16, as are the two best third-placed duos. The final two spots will be determined at the start of the day on Saturday, with two matches reuniting the four remaining third-placed tandems.
The event in Doha is the third Challenge tournament on the Beach Pro Tour's inaugural season. The Challenge events represent one of the three levels of the Beach Pro Tour. They are ranked between the Elite16, which feature the highest level of the sport, and the Futures, which offer young, up-and-coming players access to international beach volleyball, and feed into the elite of the sport.