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

Popov/Reznik (UKR) vs. Kantor/Zdybek (POL) - Pool E #5831688

Zdybek and partner Kantor defeated teams from Ukraine and Austria in pool play

Homecourt advantage played a factor in the first day of the main draw of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Espinho Challenge as three teams from Europe were among the six pool winners in the men’s tournament on Friday at the Praia da Baía.

Poland’s Piotr Kantor/Jakub Zdybek, Norway’s Hendrik Mol/Mathias Berntsen and Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Samuele Cottafava joined two duos from the United States and one from Brazil to top their pools in the Portuguese event and secure a spot in the Round of 16.

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Pool E had an all-European ‘final’, with Kantor and Zdybek topping Austrians Alexander Horst and Julian Hörl in straight sets (21-13, 21-11). The Poles are playing just their second Beach Pro Tour event as partners and are coming from a fifth-place finish at the Jurmala Challenge last month.

In their first match at the Espinho Challenge, the Poles succeeded against another European team, prevailing over Ukrainians Sergiy Popov and Eduard Reznik in the tie-breaker (21-18, 18-21, 15-12).

Beach Pro Tour Espinho Challenge - Match Schedule and Results

Mol and Bertnsen had an equally complicated journey to win Pool B, which started with a close two-set (22-20, 21-18) victory over Spanish veterans Pablo Herrera and Adrián Gavira. Later, the Norwegians returned to the sand and overcame Americans Tri Bourne and Chaim Schalk in the tie-breaker (19-21, 21-11, 15-12).

Pedrosa/Campos (POR) vs. Cottafava/Nicolai (ITA) - Pool F #5834528

Nicolai and Cottafava won the rainy battle against Pedrosa and Campos

Italians Nicolai and Cottafava had a solid day in Pool F, winning both of their matches in straight sets. The Europeans started the day with a comfortable 2-0 (21-12, 21-11) win over Thai qualifiers Poravid Taovato and Pithak Tipjan. Later, playing under some rain on the centre court, the bronze medalists of the 2022 Beach Pro Tour Finals came back from a difficult start to beat the home duo of João Pedrosa and Hugo Campos also in straight sets (26-24, 21-16).

The United States were the only country to have multiple pool winners in the men’s tournament in Espinho. Among them were Chase Budinger and Miles Evans, who finished first in Pool D with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 15-9) victory over Brazilians Evandro Gonçalves and Athur Lanci and a straight-set (21-17, 21-16) win against Lithuanians Patrikas Stankevicius and Audrius Knasas.

Evandro/Arthur (BRA) vs. Evans/Budinger (USA) - Pool D #5831108

Budinger blocks Arthur during the match against the Brazilians

La piscina A ha visto una "finale" tutta americana, con Taylor Crabb e Taylor Sander che hanno prevalso su Trevor Crabb e Theo Brunner. Gli olimpionici avevano vinto il primo set per 21-13 quando Trevor Crabb ha dato forfait a causa di un infortunio. All'inizio della giornata, Crabb e Sander avevano trionfato sugli australiani Thomas Hodges e Zach Schubert al tie-break (13-21, 21-19, 15-8).

La Pool C è stata vinta dai brasiliani Vitor Felipe e Renato Lima, medaglia d'argento ai Campionati del Mondo, che hanno superato gli svizzeri Marco Krattiger e Florian Breer per 2-1 (17-21, 21-18, 15-13) e gli australiani Chris McHugh e Paul Burnett sempre al tie-break (21-18, 18-21, 15-12).

L'Espinho Challenge prosegue sabato con i turni eliminatori. I primi incontri della giornata saranno i due Round of 18, seguiti dagli otto Round of 16 e dai quattro quarti di finale. Le semifinali e i medal match sono in programma domenica.

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