Duda

World champions Duda and Ana Patricia will play their first match in Paris against recently crowned European champs Anastasija Kravcenoka and Tina Graudina

The main draw match schedule for the sixth Elite16 event in the inaugural season of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour has now been released. The event is set to take place in Paris from September 28 to October 2, and there will be some really interesting match-ups to look forward to in the pool phase of the tournament.

After the qualification matches take place on September 28, main draw action will start on Thursday, September 29, at 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT) with a women’s Pool A clash between reigning world champions Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) and Ana Patricia Ramos of Brazil and recently crowned European champions Anastasija Kravcenoka and Tina Graudina of Latvia, currently ranked fourth and seventh in the world, respectively. The South Americans are the top-seeded pair of the tournament. USA’s Kelley Kolinske and Sara Hughes and a qualifying team will complete Pool A.

Just an hour later, the centre court at Stade Roland-Garros will welcome FIVB World Ranking leaders Barbara Seixas and Carol Solberg of Brazil and the number two team in the ranking, Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands, in a Pool B clash. The pool will also feature an all-Brazilian duel between Barbara and Carol and the world’s number nine Talita Antunes and Rebecca Cavalcanti, starting later that day, at 19:00 local time (17:00 GMT).

Pool C will offer an exciting all-American clash between fourth-seeded Betsi Flint and Kelly Cheng, winners of the last Elite16 event in Hamburg, and rising stars Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth, on Friday, September 30, at 14:00 local time (12:00 GMT). FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship silver medallists Brandie Wilkerson and Sophie Bukovec of Canada are the other seeded team in the pool.

Number three in the World Ranking, Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar of Australia will cross paths with last month’s finalists at both the Hamburg Elite16 and EuroBeachVolley 2022 in Munich, Nina Brunner and Tanja Huberli of Switzerland, currently ranked fifth in the world. The two pairs will meet on September 29 at 20:00 local time (18:00 GMT). Host country France’s representatives Lezana Placette and Alexia Richard will also compete in Pool D.

Meanwhile, top-seeded Czechs Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner will get the men’s main draw underway at 11:00 local time (09:00 GMT) on September 29 with their first Pool A game. The EuroBeachVolley 2022 and two-time Elite16 silver medallists will play against Matthew Immers and Stefan Boermans of the Netherlands. The Czech pair’s match against Spanish standouts Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira is scheduled for later that day, at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT).

Reigning world and Olympic champions and Ostrava Elite16 gold medallists Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway, seeded second in Paris, will be challenged by Gstaad Elite16 winners Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt of Chile in Pool B at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT) on September 29. Switzerland’s Marco Krattiger and Florian Breer are the other seeded duo in the pool.

Pool C will also feature two gold medallists of previous Elite16 tournaments, Rosarito winners Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar and Jurmala winners Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava of Italy. The two teams will meet on September 30 at 11:00 local time (09:00 GMT). The pool also features Austria’s Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller.

The Pool D programme offers a remake of the epic Hamburg Elite16 final between Poland’s Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak and the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, which ended in favour of the Poles after a nail-biting 29-27 tie-breaker. Bryl and Losiak have already collected four Beach Pro Tour gold medals this year and are currently ranked number two in the world, while Brouwer and Meeuwsen are right below them, in number three. The titanic clash between these two duos is set to start at noon (10:00 GMT) on September 30.

It will also be interesting to see the Beach Pro Tour debut for the host country’s main draw representatives, a pair consisting of 32-year-old former French indoor international Julien Lyneel and 23-year-old Remi Bassereau, also an indoor player until recently. The new team’s rookie appearance on international sand will be against Bryl and Losiak at 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT) on September 29.

Once the pool stage is completed, the winners and the runners-up of the four round-robin pools per gender will advance to the quarterfinals.