Reigning world champions Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) and Ana Patricia Ramos of Brazil topped the standings in Pool A and will take on Australia’s Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar in one of the women’s semifinals at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha on Sunday at 13:00 local time (10:00 UTC). In the other semifinal, starting an hour later, Pool B winners Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands will lock horns with American wild cards Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng for the remaining vacancy in the gold medal match later in the evening, at 20:00 (17:00). The game for the bronze is scheduled at 18:00 (15:00).
Women’s semifinals set in Doha
Brazil against Australia and the Netherlands against USA in Sunday’s battles for the final
Published 05:08, 28 Jan 2023
In their last Pool A match on Saturday, Duda and Ana Patricia produced a merciless 2-0 (21-12, 21-12) blowout of European champions Anastasija Samoilova and Tina Graudina. With Ana Patricia owning the net and Duda well in control of the back court, the top-seeded Brazilians outplayed the opponents on all counts to finish on top of the Pool A standings unbeaten.
“For us, this fourth game was our best of the four. The last time we played the Latvians we lost, so we were very concentrated this time,” Duda told Volleyball World after the game. “Ana and I are feeling good because we won all four games so far. We don’t have to go through the quarterfinals, so we will enjoy the moment. We have two more games to play and our focus is on the semifinals. We will study the opponents and their game carefully. I am very happy to be back here and play at this location.”
In the other Pool A match on Saturday, USA’s Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss came back from a set down against wild cards Sarah Pavan and Sophie Bukovec to claim an important 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 15-9) victory, which propelled them to the second place in the pool and on to the quarterfinals. Hoping to finish the tournament on a high note, the Canadians spiked and served really well (six aces), but also committed far too many unforced errors, which prevented them from registering their first win in Doha.
Three teams finished the pool on a 2-2 win-loss record each. With the results between them in consideration, Kloth and Nuss took second place. Clancy and Mariafe finished third and also advanced to the quarterfinals, while Anastasija and Tina were pushed down to fourth and out of further contention.
Saturday’s Pool B programme offered a couple of straight-setters, whose winners secured their spots in the quarterfinals. Switzerland’s Nina Brunner and Tanja Huberli delivered a 2-0 (21-15, 24-22) upset of second-seeded Brazilians Barbara Seixas and Carol Solberg and finished second in the pool on a 3-1 win-loss record and short of pool winners Stam and Schoon on point ratio.
Hughes and Cheng hammered out a 2-0 (21-14, 21-15) shutout of Germany’s Cinja Tillmann and Svenja Muller to finish third in the pool on 2-2 and progress to the next round. The tournament is over for fourth-placed Barbara and Carol and fifth-placed Tillmann and Muller.
The first quarterfinal offered a three-set battle between Brunner and Huberli and Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists Clancy and Mariafe. The Swiss completely dominated the first set to take the lead. They even had a four-point advantage at 13-9 in the second, but in the money time, the Aussies scored six in a row to take control and level the match. In the tie-breaker, the lead went back and forth several times, but Clancy’s superb blocking made the difference towards a 2-1 (12-21, 21-17, 15-12) Australian victory.
The second quarterfinal pleased the fans on the stands with over an hour of exciting nip-and-tuck beach volleyball. In an all-American affair, Kloth and Nuss took the first set by the narrowest of margins. The second was dominated by Hughes and Cheng to unroll the red carpet for a spectacular tie-breaker that was pushed deep into overtime. Lots of match points were denied on both sides of the net in the third set before Hughes and Cheng could finally celebrate with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-14, 24-22) comeback victory and a spot in the semis. The two teams were exactly level on all scoring elements, with 40 successful spikes, two kill blocks and an ace each. What made the difference were the unforced errors, one of which actually ended the match in favour of Hughes and Cheng.