Beach Pro Tour - News

Esmée/Zoé (SUI) vs. Placette/Richard (FRA) - Round 2 #11802099

Switzerland’s Esmee Bobner in action in Doha qualifiers

The three-way Swiss race for the country’s two available tickets to the women’s Olympic tournament at Paris 2024 is about to heat up in Doha this week as all three participating pairs are set to participate in the main draw of the Elite16 event in the Qatari capital, the first on the 2024 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour. One was pre-seeded directly into the main draw, starting on Wednesday. The other two advanced through Tuesday’s qualification grind. The race for the Brazilian quotas might get the mercury rising too, as Agatha Bednarczuk & Rebecca Cavalcanti, who are currently far behind the top two Brazilian duos in the ranking, showed no intention of giving up hope and made sure they qualify for the main draw. The men’s main draw in Doha is also going to set the stage for the Dutch, the American and the Italian Olympic tickets race with lower-ranked teams from those countries also qualifying on Tuesday.

· Watch the Doha Elite16 qualifications on the Beach Volleyball World channel.
· Watch the Doha Elite16 main draw live on VBTV.

Esmee Bobner & Zoe Verge-Depre, the highest ranked Swiss team in the women’s provisional Olympic ranking, achieved two difficult three-set wins on Tuesday, but pushed their way through to the main draw. They started off with a victory over Ukraine’s Maryna Hladun & Tetiana Lazarenko in the first qualification round and followed up with a 2-1 (18-21, 22-20, 15-7) comeback against France’s Lezana Placette & Alexia Richard and advanced to Pool B in the main draw, where they will face USA’s Taryn Kloth & Kristen Nuss, Brazil’s Barbara Seixas & Carol Solberg and Italy’s Marta Menegatti & Valentina Gottardi.

Joana Mader & Anouk Verge-Depre, the next highest ranked Swiss women’s team, also played two hard-fought matches on Tuesday – a narrow against Poland’s Jagoda Gruszczynska & Aleksandra Wachowicz and a against Spain’s Daniela Alvarez & Tania Moreno – and moved on to Pool A, where they will start against Swiss compatriots Nina Brunner & Tanja Huberli in a face-to-face encounter with a direct rival for a Paris 2024 spot. The world’s number one team Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) & Ana Patricia Ramos of Brazil and Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists Taliqua Clancy & Mariafe Artacho Del Solar of Australia are the other two teams in that pool.

Brazil will have as many as four teams in the women’s main draw. Agatha & Rebecca, who are the fourth-ranked Brazilian pair, made sure of that by mastering a shutout of Austria’s Franziska Friedl & Anja Trailovic and backing it up with a victory over Lithuania’s Monika Paulikiene & Aine Raupelyte in a deciding qualifier. Thus, Agatha & Rebecca will get a chance for a direct meeting with Brazil’s third-ranked pair Taina Bigi & Victoria Lopes on Thursday, hoping to shorten the distance and make that quest for the two Brazilian tickets an exciting four-way race. Reigning world champions Sara Hughes & Kelly Cheng of the United States and Dutch standouts Katja Stam & Raisa Schoon will be the other two teams competing in Pool C.

Latvia’s Anastasija Samoilova & Tina Graudina, seeded top of the qualification bracket, allowed no surprises and hammered out two straight-set wins on Tuesday – against Qatar’s Damla Yagmur & Rehanna Al-Tobaishi and against Austria’s Dorina Klinger & Ronja Klinger. Anastasija & Tina, who seem quite safe for a spot at Paris 2024, will play in Pool D against Melissa Humana-Paredes & Brandie Wilkerson of Canada, Xue Chen & Xia Xinyi of China and Louisa Lippmann & Laura Ludwig of Germany.

Steven van de Velde & Matthew Immers of the Netherlands became the first men’s team to emerge from the Doha qualifiers with a ticket to the main draw after a comeback victory over Lithuania’s Patrikas Stankevicius & Audrius Knasas in the first round and a shutout of Austria’s Robin Seidl & Moritz Pristauz in the second. They fell right into a face-to-face meeting with the highest-ranked Dutch pair in the men’s provisional Olympic ranking Alexander Brouwer & Robert Meeuwsen in a Pool B match on Thursday. Already qualified world champions Ondrej Perusic & David Schweiner of Czechia and Andre Stein & George Wanderley of Brazil are also in that pool.

Stefan Boermans & Yorick de Groot are the third Dutch duo, expected to join the Olympic dream chase. They are currently behind the other two in the rankings and one of the reasons is that they have competed in fewer qualifying events. They will resume their quest to catch up as a team seeded directly into Pool C. Australia’s Thomas Hodges & Zachery Schubert, a solid candidate for an Olympic berth, are the qualifiers that joined that pool after a shutout of Portugal’s Joao Pedrosa & Hugo Campos and a comeback win over Switzerland’s Marco Krattiger & Florian Breer. Defending Olympic champions Anders Mol & Christian Sorum of Norway and one of at least four US duos in the race for their country’s two Olympic tickets, Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner, will compete in Pool C as well.

Another two of those four American teams locked horns in a deciding qualifier in Doha. After disposing of Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich & Leo Dillier in a tight first-round three-setter, Chase Budinger & Miles Evans, placed just below Crabb & Brunner in the Olympic race, persevered through another hard-fought tie-breaker to claim a victory over the next best ranked US team, Chaim Schalk & Tri Bourne. Budinger & Evans will have a tough task in the Pool D company of Italy’s Paolo Nicolai & Samuele Cottafava, Poland’s Michal Bryl & Bartosz Losiak and Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists Cherif Younousse & Ahmed Tijan, Qatar’s home favourites.

With Daniele Lupo & Enrico Rossi snatching the last available vacancy in the men’s main draw in Doha, the race for the Italian Olympic tickets is set to heat up as well. The country’s third-ranked team turned the course of their first match against England’s Joaquin Bello & Javier Bello around to celebrate a victory and then managed a sweep of their deciding qualifier against French hopefuls Arthur Canet & Teo Rotar. Lupo & Rossi are joining Pool A, where top-seeded Swedes David Ahman & Jonatan Hellvig, Brazil’s Evandro Oliveira & Arthur Mariano and Germany’s Clemens Wickler & Nils Ehlers are awaiting their challenge.

Wednesday’s main draw action starts at 09:00 local time (06:00 UTC).