Four teams per gender won their two qualification matches on Wednesday to complete the Hamburg Elite16 main draw line-up at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour event in Germany. Spain’s Daniela Alvarez and Tania Moreno were among them after taking a risky last-minute decision to travel to Hamburg while still on the reserve list.
Late decision pays off for Alvarez & Moreno
Teams from Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Switzerland successful in Wednesday’s Hamburg Elite16 qualifiers
Pubblicato 06:18, 10 Aug 2022
Germany’s Sarah Schulz and Chantal Laboureur, Switzerland’s Esmee Bobner and Zoe Verge-Depre and the Netherlands’ Emma Piersma and Mexime van Driel were also successful in the women’s qualifiers, while Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira, Poland’s Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak, the Netherlands’ Leon Luini and Ruben Penninga and their compatriots Stefan Boermans and Matthew Immers progressed to the main draw on the men’s side.
Thursday’s main draw action starts with the women’s Pool B matches at 08:00 local time (06:00 GMT) as Brazil’s Talita Antunes and Rebecca Cavalcanti go against USA’s Kelly Cheng and Betsi Flint on centre court, and Schulz and Laboureur take on world’s number two Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands on court two.
Playing at their first Elite16 event, last-minute qualification bracket entries Alvarez and Moreno produced two upsets, both in nail-biting three-setters, and sensationally progressed to the main draw. First, the 20-year-old Spaniards, seeded 13th in the 15-team qualifiers, played three extended sets to overcome fourth-seeded Miki Ishii and Sayaka Mizoe of Japan by 2-1 (27-25, 24-26, 18-16). In the second round, Alvarez and Moreno came back from a set down to celebrate a 2-1 (16-21, 29-27, 15-9) victory over Spanish compatriots Paula Soria and Sofia Gonzalez, seeded fifth.
“It’s crazy! We really booked the flight less than 24 hours ago and we had no expectations going into the tournament,” Alvarez told Volleyball World. “We played a really good match against Japan this morning. A crazy match! And this second game was great as well, and we are so happy! It’s our first Elite16 and we want to keep our good level going into tomorrow.”
“To be honest, I am kind of speechless. It was a great experience, not only playing, but also trying to make a decision at 1 AM one day before travelling. Dani called me, woke me up and said, ‘It’s 1 AM and we are number three on the reserve list, but we have to try,’ and here we are taking that risk,” Moreno added. “And we played these tough sets against these great teams, especially our teammates we practice with every day. They played really well and I wish them the best for the next tournaments. For tomorrow we are all in! We’ll go for it and let’s see what happens...”
Eighth-seeded Schulz and Laboureur were the first to complete two victories in Wednesday’s qualifiers. The German pair pleased the home crowd with a hard-fought 2-0 (25-23, 21-15) first-round win over Austria’s Katharina Schutzenhofer and Lena Plesiutschnig and a 2-0 (21-9, 21-15) shutout of top-seeded Spaniards Belen Carro and Angela Lobato.
Seventh-seeded Piersma and Van Driel started their day by claiming a 2-1 (21-13, 16-21, 15-12) win over Austria’s Dorina Klinger and Ronja Klinger, and followed up with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-13) upset of second-seeded Czechs Barbora Hermannova and Marie-Sara Stochlova.
Number three Bobner and Verge-Depre were the highest-seeded women’s duo to advance. They mastered straight-set wins over Germany’s Leonie Klinke and Lena Ottens by 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) and over France’s Lezana Placette and Alexia Richard by 2-0 (21-11, 26-24).
The number one seeds in the men’s qualifier, Herrera and Gavira cruised to two speedy wins over German pairs and swiftly advanced to Thursday’s main draw. They defeated Paul Henning and Sven Winter by 2-0 (21-11, 21-16), and Robin Sowa and Lukas Pfretzschner by 2-0 (21-12, 21-17).
After a 2-0 (21-12, 21-18) sweep of Italy’s Davide Benzi and Carlo Bonifazi, fifth-seeded Dutchmen Luini and Penninga battled it out in three sets against fourth-seeded Poles Piotr Kantor and Maciej Rudol to take a 2-1 (28-26, 20-22, 15-10) victory.
The other Polish duo, Bryl and Losiak, however, won their tie-breaker in the deciding second-round match against Austria’s Julian Horl and Alexander Horst to claim a 2-1 (21-23, 21-17, 15-8) come-from-behind victory and advance to the main draw. In the first round, the third-seeded Poles produced a 2-0 (22-20, 21-16) shutout of Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich and Leo Dillier.
Another Dutch duo, second-seeded Boermans and Immers also booked a spot in Thursday’s main draw after sweeping compatriots Mart Van Werkhoven and Dirk Boehle by 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) and Canada’s Samuel Schachter and Daniel Dearing by 2-0 (27-25, 21-19).