Grimalts conquer Sydney pool play with positive vibes
Chile's Esteban Grimalt digs the ball at the Sydney 3-star
The Grimalts started with an easy 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) win over Australia’s Paul Burnett and Maximillian Guehrer and completed their dominance in Pool B with another straight-set (25-23, 21-14) triumph against Estonia’s Mart Tiisar and Kusti Nolvak.
The Chilean duo was down 20-18 in the first set, but regained focus and swung the momentum back to their side to win the set. By the second set, the pair dictated the tempo to complete the victory.
“We are very happy with how we played in both matches especially in the second match, where we were able to turn the first set around in our favour when we were down 20-18,” Esteban said.
“We managed to serve well causing problems to our opponents’ defence towards the end of the first set - until we made a big difference in the end. In the second set our block and defence were good which allowed us to set the tone from start to finish.”
Esteban believes that playing at such a high level at the start of the tournament could help them to build up momentum in their efforts to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“We need to get more matches at this level to continue improving ourselves because we want to qualify again to the Olympics.”
The Chileans are hoping that their great performance on the court could translate into a wave of opportunities for beach volleyball in their country.
“We were the first beach volleyball team in Chile to qualify for the Olympics and make this discipline a profession,” Esteban said. “We want to continue to grow ourselves and our sport in Chile. We want more teams to play at this level because we have the resources to play in Chile.
“Beach volleyball is smaller than other sports in my country, but we want to make a difference and change the mentality and make beach volleyball a sustainable profession.”
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Also making a big splash in the tournament are the United States’ Theodore Brunner and William Reid Priddy who have maintained their winning momentum after five matches in Sydney. Brunner and Priddy topped Pool A after their triumphs against France’s Quincy Aye and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat 2-0 (27-25, 21-19) and compatriots Stafford Slick and William Allen in a three-set battle (21-16, 19-21, 15-12).
Three other USA pairs topped their respective pools. Top seeds Taylor Crabb and Jacob Gibb led Pool A, third seeds John Hyden and Ryan Doherty headed Pool C, while wild cards William Kolinske and Miles Evans dominated Pool G.
Russia’s Taras Myskiv and Valeriy Samoday won both matches in straight sets to win Pool D, then Lithuania’s Arnas Rumsevicius and Lukas Kazdailis showed toughness in double tiebreakers to lead Pool F, and Italy’s Enrico Rossi and Adrian Carambula’s had clutch performances in their straight-set wins in Pool H.
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