Chile’s Noe Aravena/Vicente Droguett and Poland’s Michal Bryl/Bartosz Losiak have continued their dream runs at the Tlaxcala Challenge event on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour, but only one of the two teams will be able to give it a fairytale ending when they meet in Sunday’s gold medal match at the Plaza de la Constitucion.
Chileans and Polish looking to complete dream run with Tlaxcala gold
The young South Americans and the experienced Europeans meet for the title in Mexico
Published 04:27, 20 Mar 2022
The Chileans are undeniably the most surprising team of the Mexican event, having advanced from the qualifier all the way to the final in just the second international event of their careers and have become the fans' darlings in Tlaxcala. The Polish pair, on the other hand, remain undefeated after five matches and are just one win away from stepping on to the top of the podium in their first tournament as partners.
Aravena, 19, and Droguett, 21, continued their Cinderella story in Tlaxcala on Saturday by winning two more matches, improving their campaign in Mexico to seven wins and just one loss. Better than that, they were able to get revenge over the only team that had defeated them in the event, Latvian veterans Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins, by topping the Europeans in their three-set (21-17, 17-21, 16-14) semifinal match. The South Americans were pushed by the loud Mexican fans the entire match and sent the crowd into raptures when they scored the game-winning point.
“It was a very difficult match,” Droguett reflected. “They’re Olympians and excellent players. They had defeated us 2-0 in pool play and we understood we had to give our 120% today. I think we entered the match with more energy. We kept fighting until the end. The last two points were very nervous, but we managed to remain calm and I think that helped us win.”
Earlier, in the quarterfinals, the Chileans eliminated the Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallists Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands with a two-set (22-20, 21-18) win. The South Americans have defeated as many as nine Olympians and five Olympic medallists on their way to the Tlaxcala gold medal match.
The Polish Olympians, who prior to becoming full-time partners this season had shared the courts just once, back in 2016, started the Saturday in great form as well, dominating Australian qualifiers Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett to a straight-set (21-16, 21-13) victory in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, the 27-year-old Bryl and the 29-year-old Losiak were on the ropes against reigning Brazilian champions Vitor Felipe and Renato Lima, but somehow pulled off a three-set (17-21, 24-22, 15-12) win after denying their opponents multiple match points in the second set.
“We had to adapt to win this match, but we’re really happy,” Losiak reacted. “It’s our first tournament together and we’re in the final, so it couldn’t have started any better. We dreamed about being in the final here in Tlaxcala and tried to prepare as well as we could to make it happen. We’ll try and focus on our side tomorrow and do our best.”
Bryl/Losiak Highlights vs. Renato/Vitor Felipe
Brazilians and Latvians will meet in the bronze medal match at 13.00 local time, while the Polish and Chileans teams will clash for gold at 16.00.