20-year-old Swedish prodigies David Ahman and Jonatan Hellvig took their victorious run at the Kuşadası Challenge tournament all the way to the top of the podium. The 11th-seeded team won all their six matches on the Turkish sand to celebrate with their first gold of the season. The reigning U21 world champions had previously made it to three FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour podiums, but it was the first time they medalled on the new Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour.
Swedish prodigies Ahman & Hellvig strike Kuşadası gold
Aussies McHugh & Burnett and Germans Wickler & Ehlers complete the podium
Pubblicato 08:19, 22 mag 2022
Australia’s Christopher McHugh and Paul Burnett, seeded third in the main draw, claimed the silver medals in Kuşadası. It was the second international medal for the recently formed pair after they triumphed as Asian continental champions in November.
10th-seeded Germans Clemens Wickler and Nils Ehlers also took their first Beach Pro Tour medal. They snatched the Kuşadası bronze after defeating seventh-seeded Italians Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi in the third place match.
McHugh and Burnett stormed the gold medal match on a 3-0 run and kept pace to stay in the lead. McHugh’s off-the-block hit delivered the first set point, and Burnett brought in the 21-19 set winner with a powerful spike above Hellvig’s block. The second set offered a close and fierce battle, with the lead changing hands a few times. Some monster blocking by Hellvig powered the Swedish team to the set point. A rally later, Hellvig himself nailed the 21-18 winner in offence to level the match. The battle continued into the tie-breaker. Three points in a row gave Ahman and Hellvig a 12-10 lead, which they held on to through the end. Hellvig produced the match point with a successful hammer on two and then converted it with a monster block for a 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 15-12) comeback victory.
“It feels amazing! It was a really tough game. It was hard to stop them; they just hit off the block all the time...” the young Swedes said after the end of the final match. “The crowd here was fantastic. It was so much fun to play here and we really want to come back again.”
Hellvig's best attacks in the final
In the first set of the bronze medal match, Ehlers served as many as five aces to make the difference on the way to an emphatic 21-12 win. A direct serving point by the blocker brought in the first set point, before Wickler closed the set with a successful attack. The first half of the second set was very tight, with the lead going back and forth a few times. Carambula and Rossi dominated the second half to edge forward. Carambula turned a defensive action into a smart offensive hit to score for 21-17 and level the match. The Germans took an early three-point lead in the tie-breaker and then kept pace to stay in the lead. Wickler’s kill produced the first match point. The defender converted it himself with a perfectly placed cross-court spike for the 2-1 (12-21, 17-21, 15-12) victory.
The two semifinals earlier on Sunday finished in straight sets. Ahman and Hellvig claimed a 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) win over Wickler and Ehlers, before MvHugh and Burnett persevered through a tough battle against Carambula and Rossi to celebrate with a 2-0 (21-18, 23-21) victory.