Persistence paid off for Anita Dave and Sofia Starikov just one week after failing to qualify for the main draw of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour one-star event in Sofia. The Israelis progressed to the next stage of the competition in Ljubljana on Thursday.
Seeded second in the qualification tournament played in the Slovenian capital, the Israeli pair won a closely-contested two-set (38-36, 28-26) match against Italians Sara Breidenbach and Chiara They to move from the qualifier to the main draw.
Two Sofia qualifiers will join Dave and Starikov in Ljubljana’s main draw as third-seeded Sarah Cools and Lisa van den Vonder of Belgium, who won bronze last week in the Bulgarian capital, and Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann of New Zealand also advanced.
The Belgians delivered a 2-0 (21-9, 21-9) victory over Greeks Mirto Kalamaridou and Dimitra Manavi in their second match of the day while the Kiwis upset the Dutch Piersma sisters Brecht and Emma also in two sets (21-19, 21-19) to qualify.
The fourth and final qualifiers' berth in the main draw went to Denmark’s Sofia Bisgaard and Clara Windeleff, who prevailed over Estonia’s Heleene Hollas and Liisa Soomets in straight sets (21-15, 21-11).
Among the men, the main draw spots also went to teams from four different countries, all European. Swedish pair Martin Appelgren and Alexander Herrmann were the first to qualify after they downed Hungarians Artur Hajos and Botond Olah in straight sets (21-17, 21-19).
Playing together for the first time, Polish team Pawel Lewandowski and Jakub Zdybek followed suit, moving forward with a three-set (19-21, 21-16, 15-10) victory over Brazil’s Adrielson dos Santos and Matheus Maia. Also in three sets (18-21, 21-17, 15-13) and coming from behind, Austrians Jakob Reiter and Michael Murauer prevailed over Poland’s Adrian Bialecki and Adrian Sdebel.
In the final match of the day, Italians Gianluca Dal Corso and Tobia Marchetto claimed their spot with a hard-fought, three-set (21-18, 25-27, 15-12) victory over the Netherlands' Dirk Boehle and Mart van Werkhoven.
The main draw starts on Friday with 16 teams per gender. The medal matches for both genders will be played on Sunday. The tournament is being streamed live at beachvolleyljubljana.com.
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - Ljubljana
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