Marco and Esteban Grimalt won only one of their four matches at last week’s 2022 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha, Qatar, leaving the tournament earlier than they would have liked, at the conclusion of the pool stage.
Grimalts find their game at Doha Elite16
The Chilean cousins bounce back after a frustrating finish at the Finals and are in the top five
published_tag 08:27, 03 Feb 2023
The Chileans remain in Doha for another week to compete in the Elite16 event that’s opening the 2023 international season, but look like an entirely different team and are among the four men’s duos that won their pools on Friday at the Aspire Park sports complex and advanced directly to the quarterfinals.
The Grimalts, who won an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event in the Qatari capital in 2019, were in fine form during the first two days of this week’s tournament. The Chilean cousins, who swept Spain’s Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira and the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen on Thursday, are yet to drop a set in the event after they dominated the home team of Essam Mahmoud and Abdallah Nassim to another two-set (21-13, 21-12) victory on Friday.
“This has been a perfect start for our season,” Esteban told Volleyball World. “We’ve been training so hard for this tournament. The Finals were tough for us because of the long trip and the short period to adjust. I feel that this week we’re better rested and have been able to play our game in every match, which is great.”
The Chileans, who have represented their country at the last two Olympics, also displayed some impressive mental strength to leave their frustrating result in the Finals in the past and quickly turn their focus to the Elite16 event, which marks the start of the qualification period for the Paris 2024 Games.
“I think we were a little bit tired last week, but we were also playing against the best teams in the world,” Esteban added. “The level was so high and I think we played well in some moments, but had some struggles at end of sets and let some opportunities go. The victory against Italy gave us the confidence that we could do better this week.”
The Pool A winners were Norwegian stars Anders Mol and Christian Sørum, who on Friday defeated Swedish pair David Åhman and Jonatan Hellvig 2-1 (15-21, 21-18, 15-13) and the Czech Republic’s Jan Dumek and Jiri Sedlak 2-0 (21-11, 21-19).
Poles Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak, who faced the Beach Volley Vikings in last week’s Beach Pro Tour Finals gold medal match, also went undefeated in Pool B. The Europeans won a pair of tie-breakers on Friday, toggling Brazilians Renato Lima and Vitor Felipe 21-18, 24-26, 15-13 and overcoming Germans Clemens Wickler and Nils Ehlers 21-13, 12-21, 15-8.
Italian qualifiers Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri continue to impress after their recent reunion as the veterans were the top team in Pool D in the opening phase of the tournament. The two were on the court only once on Friday, and got the job done with a two-set (21-19, 21-14) victory over Brazilians Andre Loyola and George Wanderley.
The Chileans, Norwegians, Poles and Italians advanced directly to the quarterfinals while the eight teams that finished in second and third place in their pools will need to play in the Round of 12 before progressing – the matchups are Brouwer/Meeuwsen vs. Italy's Paolo Nicolai/Samuele Cottafava, Åhman/Hellvig vs. Andre/George, Herrera/Gavira vs. Vitor Felipe/Renato and Ehlers/Wickler vs. Qatar's Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan.
Both rounds will take place on Saturday in Doha, while the semifinals and medal matches are set to be played on Sunday.