Women’s and men’s Canadian pairs through to Sofia main draw

Teams from Austria, Cyprus, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia and USA also qualify

Women’s teams from Canada, Cyprus, the Netherlands and USA and men’s pairs from Canada, Austria, Portugal and Serbia earned the right to compete in the main draw of the first Sofia 1-star stop on FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2021 by winning Thursday’s deciding qualification matches in the Bulgarian capital.

Cyprus’s Daria Gusarova and Erika Nystrom, seeded 10th in the women’s qualification bracket, were the lowest ranked duo to qualify for the 16-team main draw action, starting on Friday. In an hour-long battle, the longest lasting match of the day, they defeated seventh-seeded Greeks Dimitra Manavi and Mirto Kalamaridou by 2-1 (19-21, 21-11, 15-12) in the first round and backed that up with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) shutout of second-seeded Brazilians Carol Horta and Caca Richa in the second.

Amanda Harnett and Alina Dormann of Canada, number nine in the bracket, produced a 2-0 (22-20, 21-17) upset of top seeds Claudia Scampoli and Margherita Bianchin of Italy, after defeating Scotland’s Lynne Beattie and Melissa Coutts in a three-set affair, 2-1 (18-21, 21-9, 15-6).

The other two deciding matches of the second round were also resolved in tie-breakers, with fourth-seeded Americans Alexandra Wheeler and Corinne Quiggle claiming a 2-1 (18-21, 21-16, 15-9) comeback win over Czechia’s Martina Williams and Marie-Sara Stochlova, and sixth-seeded Annemieke Driessen and Iris Reinders of the Netherlands turning it around against USA’s Sarah Schermerhorn and Aurora Davis for a 2-1 (13-21, 22-20, 15-12) victory.

Serbia’s Milos Milic and Lazar Kolaric, seeded ninth, upset the top seeds in the men’s qualification bracket, Mathias Seiser and Moritz Fabian Kindl of Austria, in a 2-0 (23-21, 21-18) second-round straight-setter. Before that, the Serbs persevered through a tight three-set battle to claim a 2-1 (22-20, 19-21, 17-15) victory over South Africa’s Jerome Fredericks and Leo Williams.

Seventh-seeded Florian Schnetzer and Lorenz Petutschnig of Austria followed suit with a narrow 2-1 (19-21, 21-15, 16-14) win over Italy’s Tobia Marchetto and Gianluca Dal Corso in the first round, and a 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) upset of second-seeded fellow Austrians Felix Friedl and Maximilian Trummer in the second.

Seeds three and four, Canada’s William Hoey and Jake MacNeil and Portugal’s Joao Pedrosa and Hugo Campos, respectively, mastered two straight-set wins each, and also advanced to Friday’s main draw action.

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