Players in action during their match of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge at the Kite Beach in Dubai
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Three women’s teams from the USA booked their berths in the quarter-finals of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge at the Kite Beach in Dubai. The International Volleyball Federation is organizing the tournament with the support of the Dubai Sports Council and in collaboration with the Emirates Volleyball Association.
The women’s quarter-final line-up was completed after the Round of 16 games on Monday morning, with Horton and Scoles, Simo and Gaffney, and Hodel and Howard all advancing to the last eight.
Joining these teams are top seeds from Germany, Sude and Schneider, Hermannova and Stochlova of the Czech Republic, Naraphornrapat and Worapeerachayakorn of Thailand, Japan’s Ishii/Mizoe and Xia Lin of China.
Earlier, Brazil’s Pedro Solberg and Arthur Mariano produced two upsets of higher-seeded opponents in their Pool A to top their pool standings and secure a spot among the last 16 of the tournament.
As many as three teams that advanced to the men’s main draw from Saturday’s qualifiers also surprised the opponents by finishing first in their pools.
13th-seeded Solberg and Arthur opened their main draw campaign with a 2-0 (21-12, 21-14) shutout of 12th-seeded Hasan Huseyin Mermer and Safa Urlu of Turkey. In the Pool A final, the Brazilians persevered through a three-set game against top-seeded Youssef Krou and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat of France on the way to a 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 15-12) victory. Mermer and Urlu won the third place match in the pool to also advance to the playoffs. The Turks managed a 2-0 (21-13, 21-19) sweep of Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Mihails Samoilovs.
Qualifiers Andrew Benesh and Miles Partain, seeded 15th, advanced as Pool C winners. The Americans opened their campaign with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-12) upset of 10th-seeded Mexicans Juan Virgen and Miguel Sarabia, and then mastered a 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) shutout of Spain’s Javier Huerta and Alejandro Huerta. Pool favourites Sergiy Popov and Eduard Reznik of Ukraine, seeded third, who suffered a three-set upset at the hands of the Spaniards in the pool semi-finals, bounced back to beat Virgen and Sarabia by 2-0 (21-17, 21-11) to stay in contention.
Fourth-seeded Americans Chase Budinger and Troy Field failed to make it to the next round after suffering upsets from their compatriots in the semi-finals and then from the Argentineans in the third place match. Capogrosso and Capogrosso mastered a convincing 2-0 (21-14, 21-12) victory over the silver medallists of last week’s Maldives Challenge.
Another American duo, however, became the lowest seeded team to win a men’s pool. Logan Webber and Evan Cory, joining the main draw bracket from Saturday’s qualifiers and competing as number 17, brushed aside eighth-seeded Australians Izac Carracher and Mark Nicolaidis by 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) and then fifth-seeded Italians Marco Viscovich and Alex Ranghieri by 2-0 (24-22, 21-18) to top Pool E. Carracher and Nicolaidis also progressed as the third-placed team in the pool.
In Pool B, second-seeded Italians Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi won two straight-setters to emerge on top of the standings. First, they cruised to an emphatic 2-0 (21-7, 21-9) blowout of Oman’s Hood Al Jalaboubi and Mazin Alhashmi. Then, they had a hard-fought encounter with Switzerland’s Quentin Metral and Yves Haussener for the first place in the pool, and they won it by 2-0 (24-22, 21-16). The third place went to Portugal’s Joao Pedrosa and Hugo Campos, who knocked out the Omani qualifiers by 2-0 (21-17, 30-28).
The Czech pairing of 20-year-old Jakub Sepka and 19-year-old Tomas Semerad, seeded seventh in the men’s main draw, topped the final standings in Pool F after a 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-12) win over Italy’s Jakob Windisch and Gianluca Dal Corso in their first match, and a 2-0 (24-22, 21-18) victory over Australia’s Zachery Schubert and Thomas Hodges in the pool final. The Italians finished third with a 2-0 (21-8, 21-6) sweep of the UAE’s Salem Mohammed and Ahmed Al Houli.