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Renato & Vitor Felipe in Ostrava qualifier action

Renato & Vitor Felipe in Ostrava qualifier action

The number four team in the FIVB World Ranking, Andre Stein & George Wanderley, suffered a heavy upset at the hands of fellow Brazilians Renato Lima & Vitor Felipe in a deciding qualification match for a spot in the main draw at the 2023 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Ostrava that got underway on Wednesday with the two rounds in both genders’ qualification brackets.

In addition to Renato & Vitor Felipe, another Brazilian duo, Evandro Oliveira & Arthur Mariano, as well as the two American duos of Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner and Miles Partain & Andrew Benesh also advanced to Thursday’s main draw, while USA’s Terese Cannon & Sarah Sponcil, Italy’s Marta Menegatti & Valentina Gottardi, Brazil’s Barbara Seixas & Carol Solberg and Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes & Brandie Wilkerson emerged with tickets to the women’s last 16.

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Ostrava Elite16 event live on VBTV.

Cannon & Sponcil were the first team to qualify for Thursday’s main draw. After a shutout of China’s Xinxin Wang & Lingdi Zhu, the Americans had to face Lithuania’s Monika Paulikiene and Aine Raupelyte, who had delivered a upset of Brazilians Taina Bigi & Victoria Lopes in the first round. Cannon & Sponcil did not leave room for another surprise and, despite the opponents’ driven performance in the first set, produced a shutout.

Menegatti & Gottardi survived two hard-fought three-setters to progress to the main draw. In the first qualification round, they managed a victory over USA’s Emily Stockman & Megan Kraft. In the deciding match, the Italians overcame the resistance of Poland’s Jagoda Gruszczynska & Aleksandra Wachowicz on the way to a win.

The world’s number three team Barbara & Carol had some issues only in the second set of their first-round game against Norway’s Sunniva Helland-Hansen & Emilie Olimstad, but managed to resolve them to go through the qualifiers without dropping a set. After their win over the Norwegians, the strong Brazilians delivered another straight-set victory, over USA’s Savannah Simo & Toni Rodriguez.

Qualification bracket seeding leaders Melissa & Brandie were merciless in both of their matches, first cruising to a blowout of Czechia’s Anna Pavelkova & Katerina Pavelkova, then hammering out a sweep of Switzerland’s Esmee Bobner & Zoe Verge-Depre, to book the last vacancy in the 16-team women’s main draw.

The first men’s team to qualify for Thursday’s pool play were Renato & Vitor Felipe. The Brazilians started their day with a shutout of Switzerland’s Quentin Metral & Yves Haussener, but then had to face compatriots George & Andre, the top-seeded team in the men’s qualification bracket. Renato & Vitor Felipe left no doubts over their superiority in this match and mastered a victory.

Crabb & Brunner also had to deal with a match against compatriots, but in the first round, when they claimed a win over fellow Americans Chaim Schalk & Tri Bourne. Their second match offered a fierce three-set battle with Austria’s Robin Seidl & Moritz Pristauz, in which Crabb & Brunner came back from a set down to squeeze out a narrow victory.

Partain & Benesh followed a similar path through the qualifier grind. First, they knocked out French hopefuls Arthur Canet & Teo Rotar with a sweep, but then they had to battle back from a set down against Estonia’s Kusti Nolvak & Mart Tiisaar to stop the clocks deep into the tie-breaker overtime at a victory.

Evandor & Arthur were the last pair to reserve their spot in the main draw. After mastering a shutout of USA’s Chase Budinger & Miles Evans in the first round, they went on to produce a upset of second-seeded Italians Paolo Nicolai & Samuele Cottafava.

Main draw action on Thursday starts at 08:30 local time (06:30 UTC) with women’s pool play, as reigning world champions Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) & Ana Patricia Ramos of Brazil take on reigning European champions Anastasija Samoilova & Tina Graudina of Latvia at centre court, while Cannon & Sponcil engage in an all-American duel with Taryn Kloth & Kristen Nuss on court 2.