Agadir, Morocco - challenge - Beach Pro Tour 2022 - News


Ronja Klinger and her sister Dorina are fresh from a ninth-place finish last week in Espinho

Dorina and Ronja Klinger achieved their main goal of the season last week in Espinho, but the Austrian sisters are not slowing down. Just a few days after they celebrated a ninth-place finish in Portugal, the two started their campaign at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge event in Agadir, Morocco, on the right foot on Thursday.

The Austrians are one of the eight women’s teams who survived Thursday’s qualifier at the first African city to host a Beach Pro Tour event and will be competing in the main draw, which begins on Friday.

“It’s just an incredible feeling,” Ronja commented. “We’ve been working for moments like this for the past three years and it’s so amazing to see our results showing. We’re beyond grateful and beyond proud of ourselves for qualifying in two consecutive Challenge events. Qualifiers are always hard and the fact that we succeeded in two of them makes us really happy.”

· Watch all the matches at the Agadir Challenge live or on demand on Volleyball TV.

Dorina, 25, and Ronja, 22, advanced to the main draw of a Challenge event for the first time last week in Espinho. The Austrians didn’t stop there, however, and won their two pool matches in Portugal to finish ninth.

They were back in the qualifier this week in Agadir and survived a drama-packed match against Japanese pair Takemi Nishibori and Asami Shiba, winning 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-13) to give themselves a new opportunity of making another deep run this week in Morocco.

“Japan did a great job against us, they made very few mistakes and were so solid in defence” Dorina commented. “It was hard for us to find our rhythm, but we eventually did and Ronja just kept taking risks with her serving and we got rewarded at the end. We have other goals we want to achieve and different ways we want to challenge ourselves and we’ll keep pushing. We’re ready to push through and make the most of our time here.”

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The Klingers are part of Pool C in the main draw, alongside Switzerland’s Esmee Bobner/Zoe Verge-Depre, Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Valentina Gottardi and New Zealand’s Alice Zeimann/Shaunna Polley. The Swiss will be their first opponents.

“It will be another amazing opportunity for us to grow and have the opportunity of competing at a high level,” Ronja added. “I like our pool, we’ll have some really tough opponents, but anything can happen. The goal is to break pool, but we want to focus on one match at a time.”

Top-seeded Spanish team Sofia Gonzalez and Paula Soria, who like the Klingers also started in the qualifier last week in Espinho, before finishing fourth, had a positive start in Agadir as well, defeating Germans Leonie Klinke and Lena Ottens in straight sets (21-15, 21-11) to advance.

The tournament in Morocco also saw the Dutch van Driel sisters advance at the same event, with different partners for the first time. The 23-year-old Mexime paired with Emma Piersma to top Germans Leonie Kortzinger and Lea Kunst 2-1 (21-11, 13-21, 15-9) while the 22-year-old Emi joined forces with teammate Pleun Ypma to prevail over Australians Phoebe Bell and Nicole Laird in two sets (21-14, 21-15). Despite their loss, the Australians also advanced as lucky losers.

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The other four women’s teams to qualify for the main draw in Agadir were Slovenia’s Tjasa Kotnik/Tajda Lovsin, Spain’s Daniela Alvarez/Tania Moreno, Japan’s Akiko Hasegawa/Yurika Sakaguchi and Finland’s Niina Ahtiainen/Anniina Parkkinen.

The men’s qualifier saw a duel between Tokyo Olympians, and Adrian Heidrich and his partner Leo Dillier came out on top of it. The Swiss topped Olympic semifinalist Edgars Tocs and new teammate Kristians Fokerots in two sets (21-19, 21-17) and advanced to the main draw. They also got payback from the Latvians, who had eliminated them from the Doha Challenge, in May, in the same phase.

Top-seeded Miles Evans and Andy Benesh had a harder path to qualify, as they were pushed to three sets by Serbians Djordje Klasnic and Lazar Kolaric, but emerged victorious 2-1 (21-16, 25-27, 15-13).

Also advancing among the men were Italy’s Jakob Windisch/Gianluca Dal Corso, New Zealand’s Bradley Fuller/Sam O’Dea, Mexico’s Juan Virgen/Miguel Sarabia, Lithuania’s Audrius Knasas/Patrikas Stankevicius, Spain’s Sergi Rene/Alejandro Huerta and Türkiye’s Hasan Mermer/Safa Urlu.

The main draw begins in Agadir on Friday with 24 teams in each gender. The event starts with a modified pool play phase, which will see three teams in each group move forward to the elimination round, which is set to take place on Saturday. The semifinals and medal matches will bring the tournament to an end on Sunday.