Dutch qualifiers Esmee Priem and Iris Reinders became the sensations of the first day of the main draw of the FIVB Beach Volleybal World Tour one-star event in Sofia, Bulgaria, after the young team from the Netherlands won a pair of matches on Friday to make it to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
One day after they advanced from the qualifier in Sofia, the 21-year-old Priem and the 26-year-old Reinders won pool D with a straight-set (21-15, 21-7) victory over Bulgaria’s Asya Dinova/Slavina Koleva and a 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 15-13) triumph against Switzerland’s Menia Bentele/Shana Zobrist. In the quarterfinals, they will play the winners of Poland’s Jagoda Gruszczynska/Kinga Legieta and Bulgaria’s Yoana Kalfinova/Simona Nikolova.
Two teams from Italy also won their pools and one of them was Sara Breidenbach/Claudia Scampoli. The two topped pool A after a 2-0 (21-9, 21-6) win over Kalfinona and Nikolova and a three-setter (14-21, 21-10, 15-8) against Estonia’s Heleene Hollas/Liisa Soomets. Their quarterfinal opponents will be either Bentele/Zobrist or Germany’s Leonie Klinke/Lena Ottens.
Pool C victory went to fellow Italians Margherita Bianchin and Chiara They, who downed Klinke and Ottens in the tie-breaker (21-17, 16-21, 21-19) in their first match and needed all three sets (21-13, 19-21, 18-16) to get past Gruszczynska and Legieta in the second. They now wait for the match between Kalfinova/Nikolova and Israel’s Anita Dave/Sofia Starikov to find out who they play in the quarterfinals.
In pool D, Denmark’s Sofia Bisgaard/Clara Windeleff was the team to come out on top. The Danish started the day with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-12, 15-12) victory over Latvia’s Varvara Brailko/Luize Skrastina and ended with a straight-set (21-10, 21-16) win against Bulgaria’s Irena Mishonova/Desislava Nikolova. They could meet the Latvians again the semifinals if they defeat Hollas and Soomets.
The men’s tournament only completed the first half of pool play, setting up the four pool finals for Saturday. Pool A is between Denmark’s Kristoffer Abell/Jacob Brinck, who debuted with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-8) victory over Bulgaria’s Neven Neshev/Delcho Raev, and Russia’s Dmitrii Veretiuk/Artem Yarzutkin, who also needed just two sets (21-12, 21-18) against Poland’s Michal Korycki / Adrian Sdebe.
Italians Andrea Abbiati and Tiziano Andreatta made it to pool B’s final after their opening-match, two-set (21-11, 21-12) victory against Bulgaria’s Dimitar Kalchev/Dimitar Mehandzhiyski. They will now play French Arthur Canet and Teo Rotar, who upset Americans Travis Mewhirter and Adam Roberts also in straight sets (21-13, 21-19).
The Pool C final will reunite Serbians Lazar Kolaric and Milos Milic, who started their campaign in Sofia with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) win over Bulgarians Hristo Kolev and Nikolay Kostov, and Italians Gianluca dal Corso and Tobia Marchetto, who downed the English Bello twins Javier and Joaquin also in two sets (21-19, 21-17).
The deciding match in pool D will reunite two teams that started in the qualifier after Brazilians Adrielson dos Santos and Matheus Maia defeated Bulgaria’s Miroslav Gradinarov/Milen Stoyanov in three sets (24-26, 21-8, 15-13) and Dutch Dirk Boehle and Mart van Werkhoven upset Americans Michael Boag and Tim Brewster in two (21-12, 21-17).
The main draw continues on Saturday in Sofia and the medal matches are set to happen on Sunday.
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - Sofia Beach Open 4
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020