Bentele and Zobrist cause upset in Sofia qualifier


The fourth and final FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour one-star event in Sofia started with a major upset as Swiss Menia Bentele and Shana Zobrist prevailed over top-seeded Germans Svenja Muller and Sarah Schulz on Thursday to become one of the four women’s teams to fill the last four main draw spots at the Sofia Beach Club.

Playing together in just their third World Tour event, the 19-year-old Bentele and the 21-year-old Zobrist advanced to the main draw for a second-straight time with their 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) win over the top-seeded Muller and Schulz, two of the most promising young German players. Earlier, the Swiss had downed the Hungarian Vasvari sisters Eszter and Zsofia in three sets (21-15, 18-21, 15-11).

Germany did have a women’s team making it to the main draw in Sofia, though, as Leonie Klinke and Lena Ottens came out on top of a closely-contested three-setter (11-21, 21-15, 15-13) against Canadians Darby Dunn and Devon May. Estonians Heleene Hollas and Liisa Soomets followed the same script and also upset a Canadian duo, Alina Dormann/Amanda Harnett, in three sets (27-25, 14-21, 15-8) to advance. 

Estonia's Hollas hits against the Canadian block

The fourth and final main draw berth among the women was won by Dutch Esmee Priem and Iris Reinders, who eliminated Slovenians Tjasa Jancar and Klara Kregar with a straight-set (21-17, 21-12) victory.

The Netherlands was actually the only country to qualify teams in both genders after Dirk Boehle and Mart van Werkhoven came from behind to defeat Israelis River Day and Eylon Elazar in three sets (17-21, 21-15, 17-15) and take one of the four main draw spots reserved for the men.

The Bello twins Javier and Joaquin also advanced after they emerged victorious in an all-English battle against Issa Batrane and Freddie Bialokoz, winning the match in straight sets (21-18, 21-14).

The other two berths went to France’s Arthur Canet/Teo Rotar and Brazil’s Adrielson dos Santos/Matheus Maia. The French had a tougher match, posting a 2-1 (17-21, 25-23, 16-14) victory over Serbians Damjan Pusonjic and Vukasin Rajkovic while the Brazilians needed only two sets (21-15, 22-20) to upset Czechs Frantisek Knobloch and Martin Melmuka.

Brazil's Adrielson sets partner Maia up at the net

The main draw for both genders starts on Friday in Sofia and the medal matches are set to happen on Sunday.

Quick links:
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - Sofia Beach Open 4
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020


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