Challenge - Goa, IND - 2023 - Beach Pro Tour 2023 season - News

Joana Mader & Anouk Verge-Depre

Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Joana Mader & Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland celebrated their first Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour medal after winning gold at the Goa Challenge in India on Sunday. The women’s silver went to Germany’s Karla Borger & Sandra Ittlinger, while Spain’s Daniela Alvarez & Tania Moreno completed the podium with bronze.

Austria’s Robin Seidl & Moritz Pristauz came back from a quintuple opponent match point in the men’s final to triumph for the first time on the Tour after starting their journey from Thursday’s qualifiers in Goa. This gold was their second medal, after the bronze they took upon their team’s debut at the La Paz Challenge earlier this year. Spain’s Pablo Herrera & Adrian Gavira took silver and England’s Joaquin Bello & Javier Bello took bronze.

· Watch Beach Pro Tour Goa Challenge main draw replays on VBTV.

Mader & Verge-Depre entered the tournament in Goa as the seventh-seeded team in the women’s main draw and went on a six-game winning run to the title, dropping only two sets along the way to their first Beach Pro Tour podium. Their previous best result on the Tour was a fourth place at the Ostrava Elite16 in May 2022. They also finished fourth at the 2022 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship in Rome after Joana suffered a grave shoulder injury during the bronze medal game, which kept the team out of the sand courts for over 10 months.

Interestingly, both sets the Swiss duo lost during the tournament came in three-set victories over France’s Aline Chamereau & Clemence Vieira – first, in the Pool F winners’ match, and then, in the quarterfinals. In Sunday’s semifinals, Mader & Verge-Depre outplayed 10th-seeded Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee & Taravadee Naraphornrapat of Thailand to claim a win. Mader was the best scorer of the match with 23 points. In the big final, the Swiss mastered a shutout of 12th-seeded Ittlinger & Borger. This time Verge-Depre led the way with 20 points.

For the German pair, who have been together for a little over a year, the Goa silver was also the first Beach Pro Tour medal. They started the tournament with a three-set loss to China’s Lin MeiMei & Zeng Jinjin, but then went on an impeccable run of four consecutive straight-set victories to reach the final. In the semis, Ittlinger & Borger delivered a sweep of their encounter with fourth-seeded Alvarez & Moreno, with an 18-point match high from two-time Olympian Karla Borger, which included three aces.

The 21-year-old Spaniards, who snatched a CEV European Championship silver earlier this year, went on to produce a victory over Worapeerachayakorn & Naraphornrapat in the bronze medal match and celebrate their first Challenge-level medal. Their only previous Beach Pro Tour medal was a Balikesir Futures bronze in 2022. Alvarez was the leading scorer of the third-place game with 21 points to her name.

Seidl & Pristauz’s long journey in Goa took them through as many eight matches on the way to the gold medal. They started as the third-seeded team in the qualification bracket and continued as the 15th seed in the main draw. The only match they lost along the way was their first Pool C game against France’s Arthur Canet & Teo Rotar. After finishing third in their pool, the Austrians even had to go through a sixteenthfinal match of the Round of 18, as well as an eighthfinal encounter with top-seeded compatriots Julian Horl & Alexander Horst.

In both of their last two matches, Seidl & Pristauz had to come back from a set down to battle it out for victory in a tight tie-breaker. They celebrated a semifinal win over 12th-seeded Englishmen Joaquin Bello & Javier Bello, with Pristauz leading the way with 25 points, including five kill blocks. In the tie-breaker of a nail-biting final, the Austrians denied the five consecutive match points third-seeded Spaniards Pablo Herrera & Adrian Gavira had at 14-9, to squeeze out a dramatic victory. While 41-year-old five-time Olympian Herrera produced the match high of 25 points, Pristauz once again led the winners with 24 points, including five blocks and two aces.

To reach the final, Herrera & Gavira went on a five-match winning streak, losing only a set along the way (to Canet & Rotar in the Pool C winners’ game), and crowned it with a shutout of 13th-seeded Germans Lukas Pfretzschner & Sven Winter, with a 21-point match-high from Herrera. For the well-seasoned Spanish duo, the Goa silver was the third Beach Pro Tour podium, after the Madrid Futures silver in 2022 and the La Paz Challenge gold in 2023.

The 23-year-old Bello twins took the bronze after a forfeit victory over Pfretzschner & Winter. For the English pair, it was the first Challenge-level medal. Their only previous Beach Pro Tour medal was a Cortegaca Futures bronze in 2022.