Makroguzova & Kholomina secure first spot in next stage

Five more berths still up for grabs

Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina were the first team in either gender to secure advancement to the next stage of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals in Cagliari.

On Thursday, the Russians recorded straight-set victories over Germany’s Karla Borger and Julia Sude, 2-0 (23-21, 21-14), and over Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi, 2-0 (21-19, 21-15), to improve to a 3-0 win-loss, with a safe spot among the top two teams in the final Pool A standings.

April Ross and Alix Klineman also won both their matches on Thursday to finish their Pool A campaign on 2-2, but they have to wait to see whether that will be enough for advancement, depending on the last two pool games on Friday. The Americans defeated Menegatti and Gottardi by 2-0 (21-17, 22-20) and Switzerland’s Nina Betschart and Tanja Huberli by 2-0 (21-18, 21-17). Borger and Sude will need a win over the Italians to have a shot at staying alive in the competition. Betschart and Huberli could take over the top of the standings if they beat Makroguzova and Kholomina, but could also fall out of contention if they lose.

“First, we want to say ‘thank you’ to our fans, because the emotions we are taking from them helped us win,” Makroguzova told Volleyball World. “We have prepared for a long time for our matches in this pool and now we are happy. Tomorrow, we will go out strong for our last match in the pool, regardless of the fact that the first place in the pool is at stake. We will take another look at our games, find our mistakes and be ready for the game. Every game here is like an Olympic game for us, because it is the last competition of the season and is very important.”

Kelly Claes in flight

Pool B is still wide open, with two teams, Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes and USA’s Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes, leading the standings unbeaten in two matches played. On Thursday, the Americans delivered an emphatic 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) shutout of Netherlands’ Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink to claim their second win of the tournament.

Earlier in the day, the Dutch also lost to Switzerland’s Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich by 2-0 (21-19, 21-14), but although they are at 0-3 with one match to go, they still hold a remote shot at the third place in the final standings.

FIVB World Ranking leaders Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa of Brazil achieved their first win in the pool, a hard-earned 2-1 (21-18, 23-25, 15-11) over the Swiss, to improve to 1-1. At the end of the second set, the Brazilians failed to take advantage of the quadruple match point they had at 20-16, but came back to win the tie-breaker. Before the last competition day in the pool, Verge-Depre and Heidrich are on 1-2.

“It was a good game. There was a lot of wind with difficult-to-control balls. We are by the sea here, which makes the conditions very special,” Agatha said. “I think we played well, with good serves... At the end of the second set, they served very well and the biggest problem was my pass, because I did not stay in control in those moments. It was mental. Sometimes we want to finish the game fast, but we need to do it step by step and focus only on the next ball.”

Agatha Bednarczuk in reception

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