Challenge - Espinho, POR - 2023 - Beach Pro Tour 2023 season - News

Hörl/Horst (AUT) vs. Pedrosa/Campos (POR) - Round of 16 #5841358

Horst and Hörl are set to make their second semifinal appearance in the season

Alexander Horst and Julian Hörl engineered a big comeback in the quarterfinals and are one of the four men’s teams that will enter the last day of competition at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Espinho Challenge, on Sunday, targeting the gold medals.

Besides the Austrians, also made it to the semifinals of the event held at the Praia da Baía, in Portugal, Poland’s Piotr Kantor/Jakub Zdybek, Brazil’s Evandro Gonçalves/Arthur Lanci and USA’s Theo Brunner/Trevor Crabb.

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Brazilians and Americans will meet in the first semifinal on Sunday, starting at 11:30 local time (10:30 UTC), with Austrians and Polish battling for the second spot in the final one hour later. The bronze medal match will begin at 16:30 local time (15:30 UTC), followed by the gold medal match, at 17:30 (16:30 UTC).

Horst, 40, and Hörl, 31, dropped the first set of the quarterfinals to Ukrainians Sergiy Popov and Eduard Reznik, but showed an impressive ability to react, turning things around and winning the match 2-1 (16-21, 21-17, 15-8) to book their tickets to the semifinals of the event.

“I’m a little bit tired, but very, very happy,” Hörl said. “The deep sand the conditions here a real challenge, but I think we managed things well. We had a great comeback in the second set and I’m very happy that we were able to move forward.”

Hörl/Horst (AUT) vs. Pedrosa/Campos (POR) - Round of 16 #5841367

Horst digs during the Round of 16 match against the Portuguese

Gli austriaci, che prima del duello con gli ucraini avevano eliminato la squadra di casa di João Pedrosa e Hugo Campos con una vittoria in set (21-19, 21-18) negli ottavi di finale, avranno ora la possibilità di ottenere la loro seconda medaglia nella stagione 2023 del Beach Pro Tour, dopo il terzo posto ottenuto al Saquarema Challenge, in Brasile, ad aprile. Per farlo, dovranno battere Kantor e Zdybek, che li hanno sconfitti nella pool di venerdì.

"Sono davvero un'ottima squadra", riflette Horst. "Questa partita di semifinale sarà molto diversa da quella della pool play, ma stanno disputando un ottimo torneo e saranno avversari molto duri. Abbiamo giocato molte partite la scorsa settimana a Gstaad e molte altre questa settimana, quindi siamo un po' stanchi, ma faremo del nostro meglio per vincere".

Beach Pro Tour Espinho Challenge - Match Schedule and Results

Anche i loro prossimi avversari di Espinho, Kantor e Zdybek, hanno dovuto ottenere una drammatica vittoria per 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 15-13) nei quarti di finale - contro i qualificati lituani Patrikas Stankevicius e Audrius Knasas - per assicurarsi la prima semifinale al loro secondo evento come partner. In precedenza, negli ottavi di finale, gli europei hanno sconfitto gli australiani Thomas Hodges e Zach Schubert in set diretti (21-17, 21-17).

Brazilians Evandro and Arthur had the longest journey among all four semifinalists in Portugal, as the second day of the main draw included three matches for them. The two first got on the court early in the morning, in the Round of 18, where they overcame Thailand’s Pithak Tipjan and Poravid Taovato in straight sets (21-16, 21-18).

Mol, H./Berntsen (NOR) vs. Evandro/Arthur (BRA) - Round of 16 #5841404

Arthur and Evandro had a long day on Saturday, with three elimination matches

A few hours later, in the Round of 16, the South Americans upset Norwegians Hendrik Mol and Mathias Berntsen also in two sets (22-20, 21-18). Their last step towards their fourth semifinal appearance in eight Beach Pro Tour events as partners was another two-set (21-14, 21-13) triumph, this time against USA’s Tri Bourne and Chaim Schalk in the quarterfinals.

“We’ve been getting a lot of support from Brazilians who live here and also from the Portuguese people,” Evandro, who had a fourth-place finish in Espinho in 2018, commented. “Having three matches today, their energy was really important to keep us going and motivated. I always like playing here in Espinho and am grateful that I’ve been able to have another good result this time. We’re working hard to qualify for the World Championship and hopefully we’ll be able to do it.”

The Brazilians will have another American duo in their path in the semifinals in Theo Brunner and Trevor Crabb, who advanced with a pair of solid performances, sweeping (21-17, 21-10) compatriots Chase Budinger and Miles Evans in the Round of 16 and downing Spanish veterans Pablo Herrera and Adrián Gavira also in straight sets (21-17, 23-21) in the quarterfinals.