While Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands were the first team to secure advancement beyond the pool stage of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha, Swiss pair Nina Brunner and Tanja Huberli got really close to it by conquering their second Pool B win on Friday. In Pool A, top-seeded Brazilians Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) and Ana Patricia claimed their third consecutive victory and also made sure they will progress in the tournament.
Brunner & Huberli back to winning ways in Doha
Duda & Ana Patricia, Stam & Schoon secure advancement
Pubblicato 05:33, 27 Jan 2023
The third-seeded Dutch team were really emphatic in both of their games on Friday to finish their Pool B campaign on a 3-1 win-loss record as table leaders before the other four duos play one more match each on Saturday. The Swiss are the only team with a shot at overtaking Stam and Schoon, which means that at the very least the Dutch will advance to the quarterfinals.
Stam and Schoon started the day with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) shutout of Germany’s Cinja Tillmann and Svenja Muller and followed up with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) sweep of second-seeded Brazilians Barbara Seixas and Carol Solberg. Stam showed a really solid performance against the South Americans, piling up a match-high 22 points, including two blocks and two aces.
In their only game on Friday, Brunner and Huberli lost the first set to Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng, mostly on excessive unforced errors. They were also trailing in the first half of the second set, but outpaced the opponents to level the match. The American wild cards fought back from a 10-6 Swiss lead in the tie-breaker to push it to overtime, but in the end, Brunner and Huberli were able to convert their second match point to a 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 16-14) victory.
“When you come here to play against the best teams in the world, you have to perform at your best level, and be happy about the opportunity rather than be scared of all these good teams,” Huberli told Volleyball World after the match. “We really wanted to win today and I think you could see it in the end... We were a little bit shaky, but, overall, we are super happy that we managed to win.”
“I thought it was a great game, especially for the third match of the new year,” Brunner added. “It was pretty consistent until the end. With the wind, it was not easy to pass and set perfectly, so we had to look for solutions in attack, but the game was really fun. We know Hughes and Cheng are a great team and we’re really happy that we could beat them.”
Earlier in the day, Hughes and Cheng also lost to Barbara and Carol in a very tight three-setter, by the same narrow score in the tie-breaker. The Brazilians were well in control for most of the first set to take the lead. They were also in front for the most part of the second, before the Americans found a way to level the match in the overtime. At the end of a hard-fought third set, Barbara and Carol stayed more focused to take their first win of the tournament, 2-1 (21-18, 20-22, 16-14).
Following up on their win on Thursday, Duda and Ana Patricia added two more to their tally on Friday, enough to secure at least a spot in the quarterfinals. In their early match, the reigning world champions had to come back from a set down to master a 2-1 (18-21, 21-16, 15-12) victory over Canadian wild cards Sarah Pavan and Sophie Bukovec, but then they showed no mercy for Australia’s Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar to produce a 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) shutout, garnished with four aces by each of the two Brazilian players.
Earlier on Friday, the Aussies had mastered a straight-set win of their own, a 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) sweep of USA’s Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss. So they finished their pool campaign on a 2-2 win-loss record and will have to wait for Saturday’s results to find out if they stay in the competition.
No longer in contention, however, are Pavan and Bukovec. In the last women’s match of the day, Anastasija Samoilova and Tina Graudina managed to keep the Canadians winless, despite a 28-point match high by Bukovec. After the two teams exchanged wins in the first two sets, in the tie-breaker, Tina proved more efficient at the net to lead the Latvians to a 2-1 (21-18, 14-21, 15-13) victory, their second in the pool, which placed them third in the current standings.