Rossi

Enrico Rossi in action in Dubai

There has been an interesting change in two of Italy’s leading men’s pairs for the rest of the season. The Beach Pro Tour Torquay Challenge event, which will take place in Australia from November 23 through 27, will be the first to feature Enrico Rossi playing alongside Daniele Lupo, while their previous partners Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri reunite in a swap involving four Olympians, which Italian media speculate is only temporary.

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Torquay Challenge event live on Volleyball TV.

Carambula and Ranghieri, who played together between 2015 and 2017, claimed two gold medals on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour and finished ninth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. They are ranked second on the entry list for the Torquay Challenge. Meanwhile, Rossi and Rio 2016 silver medallist Lupo are fourth. The two pairs will also play the Elite16 event in Torquay, a week after the Challenge event takes place.

A look further down the entry list unveils another interesting change of partners. Austria’s Christoph Dressler, who had played with Rio Olympian Alexander Huber since the summer of 2018, will appear on Australian sand with Maximilian Trummer, Felix Friedl's partner since the start of the 2018 season. The new duo have also signed up to play at the Torquay Elite16 event and at the Futures tournament in The Hague in December.

The Torquay Challenge men’s entry list is headlined by the Australian pairing of Christopher McHugh - an Olympian - and Paul Burnett, who are back on Tour after last appearing at the Agadir Challenge in July, when they finished fourth. Their best result on the Beach Pro Tour was a second place in Kusadasi. The Aussies are currently ranked 18th in the world and seeded second on the Torquay entry list.

Other men’s pairs to look out for are France’s Youssef Krou and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat (ranked number 27 in the world), Australia’s Izac Carracher and Mark Nicolaidis (32), Switzerland’s Quentin Metral and Yves Haussener (37), their compatriots Adrian Heidrich and Leo Dillier (43), Australia’s Thomas Hodges and Zachery Schubert (46) and Israel’s Netanel Amiram Ohana and Eylon Elazar (50)

The men’s entry list for the USD 150,000 tournament in Australia includes a total of 40 pairs. In each gender, 16 teams were seeded directly into the 24-team main draw line-up. A qualification tournament will fill the remaining eight vacancies.

On the women’s side of the tournament, the total number of duos is 33.

The recently reunited duo of Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng will make their Beach Pro Tour debut headlining the women’s Torquay Challenge line-up on entry points. The potential of this partnership was unveiled at last week’s Huntington Beach Open on the AVP Tour, where Hughes and Cheng topped the podium.

Another American pair, Emily Stockman and Megan Kraft come fourth down the entry list. After winning a Futures gold in Bialystok back in June, they will now try to improve on their best result at the Challenge level, a fourth place they earned in the Maldives last month. Stockman and Kraft are currently 18th in the women’s World Ranking.

China’s Xia Xinyi and Lin MeiMei, ranked 32nd in the world, are second in Torquay on entry points. They took silver at the first Dubai tournament to celebrate their first Challenge-level podium, after claiming three medals at Futures events earlier this year.

The top three is completed by Thailand’s Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee and Taravadee Naraphornrapat. They showed steady improvement in their most recent outings, finishing fifth at the Maldives Challenge, fourth at the first Dubai Challenge and third at the second Dubai Challenge, thus earning their first Tour medal and climbing to number 15 in the World Ranking.

New Zealand’s Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann will return to the Beach Pro Tour after last appearing at the Agadir Challenge in July. After winning the AVC Asian Championship in September, they will now attempt to make it to their first Tour podium. They are currently ranked 46th in the world.

The list of 16 women’s main draw duos features other top 50 teams like Brazil’s Taina Bigi and Victoria Lopes (number 34 in the World Ranking), Japan’s Akiko Hasegawa and Yurika Sakaguchi (37), Slovenia’s Tjasa Kotnik and Tajda Lovsin (39) and China’s Zeng Jinjin and Wang Xinxin (42).

Three-time Czech Olympian Marketa Slukova and her new partner, Czech indoor star Helena Havelkova, who made their Beach Pro Tour debut with a ninth-place finish at the Cape Town Elite16 event two weeks ago, will be a team to look out for in the Torquay Challenge qualifiers.