Emily Day (left) and Betsi Flint are into the 4-Star Dela Beach Open in The Hague
The Hague, Netherlands, January 2, 2019 – Emily Day and Betsy Flint continued their development as a team when they reached the main draw of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 4-Star Dela Beach Open on Wednesday.
The USA duo beat Lithuania’s Urte Andriukaityte and Vytene Vitkauskaite 2-1 (21-16, 13-21, 15-9) to take their place in the first round which begins on Thursday, the 10th time they have reached a World Tour main draw.
“We’ve been battling through qualifiers a lot, so it feels good to get into the main draw and move into the main draw hotel, and we get to play tomorrow after flying all the way out here,” Day said.
“Betsy is such a hard worker, she is determined and has such great goals.”
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Day and Flint first teamed up in May, and before the end of 2018 they won their first World Tour gold, at the 3-Star Haiyang tournament in China, and also reached the quarterfinals in three tournaments.
For both players the gold medal was the first time that the pair finished on top of a World Tour podium, and it the type of form they are keen to continue in 2019.
“We’re really coming together,” Flint said. “It was a bit rough in the beginning and we didn’t get the results we wanted, but we know it isn’t always about the results and we tried to stick to the process.
“It’s one tournament at a time, and we know that in the US system there’s a lot of top teams so we’re going to battle through a lot of qualifiers to be at the top, but for now it is just small goals.”
Emma Piersma and Puk Stubbe ensured that the home fans had something to celebrate as they progressed to the main draw.
The two 18-year-olds are playing in their first 4-Star tournament together and they advanced with two wins, first against France’s Lezana Palette and Alexia Richard, and then over Austria’s Franziska Friedl and Eva Pfeffer.
“We won this match thanks to our fighting spirit and a lot of courage,” Piersma said. “We definitely felt the tension, but we were extremely relieved to win the match as our aim was to reach the main draw.”
The tournament runs from January 2-6 and is being played on indoor beach courts at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark. It is the second year in a row that The Hague has hosted a tournament at this time of year and it has proved popular among the players who are able to compete at a top-level tournament when they would normally be involved in warm weather training.
Puk Stubbe (left) and Emma Piersma celebrate reaching the main draw