Italian domination in Sofia

Women’s pairs from Austria, Slovenia, USA and Venezuela on express train to the quarterfinals

All four Italian teams won their opening matches in the men’s main draw at the second Sofia 1-star stop on FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2021 on Friday. On the women’s side, duos from Austria, Slovenia, USA and Venezuela topped their pools to advance directly to the quarterfinals.

Venezuela’s Norisbeth Isais Agudo and Gabriela Brito, the number one seed in the women’s main draw, started their Pool A campaign with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) win over Bulgarian wild cards Emileta Racheva and Desislava Nikolova, and followed up with a hard-fought 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 15-13) comeback victory over USA’s Sarah Schermerhorn and Aurora Davis.

Second-seeded Americans Alexandra Wheeler and Corinne Quiggle, winners of the previous World Tour event in Sofia last month, also lived up to the expectations and won Pool B after a 2-0 (21-9, 21-12) win over home pair Irena Mishonova and Iveta Stanchulova and a 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 15-12) victory over Israel’s Anita Dave and Sofia Starikov.

14th-seeded Asya Dinova and Slavina Koleva delivered the host country’s only win of the day, a 2-0 (21-14, 21-15) shutout of third-seeded Angjeny Tolentino and Leandra Savonije of the Netherlands Antilles, but then lost to sixth-seeded Austrians Dorina Klinger and Ronja Klinger by 2-0 (21-15, 21-9) in the Pool C final. It was the Klingers’ second straight-set victory in the pool, after a 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) over Ukraine’s Anhelina Khmil and Tetiana Lazarenko.

Tjasa Kotnik and Tajda Lovsin were the lowest ranked team to win a pool. The 12th-seeded Slovenians did so without dropping a set, 2-0 (21-13, 21-17) over Lithuania’s Ieva Dumbauskaite and Gerda Grudzinskaite and a hard-earned 2-0 (22-20, 26-24) over Ukraine’s Maryna Hladun and Svitlana Baburina.

On the men’s side, Friday’s programme included only the first leg of pool play, with the eight winning teams securing their spots in the single elimination rounds.

All four Italian pairs won their games, but two of them took three sets and 48 minutes of play each to achieve it. In the longest running matches of the day in the men’s competition, fifth-seeded Samuele Cottafava and Gianluca Dal Corso claiming a 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-11) victory over Hungary’s Artur Hajos and Bence Attila Streli, while seventh-seeded Alex Ranghieri and Marco Viscovich defeating Austria’s Florian Ertl and Johannes Kratz by 2-1 (21-18, 18-21, 15-13).

Top-seeded Italians Andrea Abbiati and Tiziano Andreatta and their third-seeded compatriots Jakob Windisch and Tobia Marchetto won in straight sets. So did second-seeded Russians Petr Bakhnar and Valeriy Samoday, ninth-seeded Canadians William Hoey and Jake MacNeil and 13th-seeded qualifiers Timothee Platre and Liam Patte of France.

In the only other match that went to three sets, Portugal’s Joao Pedrosa and Hugo Campos, seeded sixth, came back from a set down to snatch a 2-1 (14-21, 21-17, 15-9) win over Slovenia’s Danijel Pokersnik and Crtomir Bosnjak.

The winners’ and the losers’ matches in the men’s pools and both genders’s first two elimination rounds will take place on Saturday to determine the semifinalists.

Quick links:
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - Sofia
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020