Dubai, UAE - 2nd - challenge - Beach Pro Tour 2022 - News


Hellvig & Ahman rejoice

Top-seeded Swedish jump-setters David Ahman and Jonatan Hellvig took their six-game winning streak all the way to the top of the podium at the second Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge event in Dubai on Sunday. It was their second gold and third overall medal on the Tour, after they lifted the Kusadasi Challenge trophy back in May and took bronze at the Maldives Challenge earlier this month.

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Challenge events in Dubai on demand on Volleyball TV.

Argentina’s Tomas Capogrosso and Nicolas Capogrosso earned Dubai silver. For 27-year-old Olympian Nicolas and his 20-year-old brother Tomas, seeded 11th in the main draw, it was the first-ever Beach Pro Tour hardware as a pair.

30-year-old Taylor Crabb and 36-year-old Paul Lotman, who filled in for Crabb’s regular partner Taylor Sander just for this trip to the Emirates and played his first two world-level tournaments ever, improved on their fifth place at the first Challenge event in Dubai and claimed the bronze.

The opening set of the final offered a tight battle, with Ahman and Hellvig maintaining a slight lead varying up to three points, but Capogrosso and Capogrosso catching up an levelling the score on several occasions. Finally, a three-point series for the Swedes was crowned by a one-handed kill block by Hellvig for the 21-17 set winner. The Argentineans stayed competitive only through 4-4 in the second set, after which they started gifting far too many points to the opponents by committing unforced errors. On the other side, the young Swedes performed beautifully in their typical jump-setting style and kept widening that gap. At the end, it was as wide as nine points as another mistake by the South Americans closed the match at 2-0 (21-17, 21-12) Ahman and Hellvig’s way. The two Swedish players shared the top scorer honours with 15 points apiece.

“It sure feels amazing to be here and manage to win,” 20-year-old Ahman said after the final. “It’s been tough and really warm, but we made it! We always try to have fun and that definitely helps us. We do our thing and play our style of volleyball. When we do that well, it’s both fun and it works.”

“Of course, the brothers are a really tough team to play against. They hit really hard and really high, so it’s hard to stop them when they get to the net,” added Hellvig, who turned 21 earlier this month. “I think the key for us was that we managed to put some pressure on the serve, so they could not get the best opportunities to hit.”

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19th-seeded Americans Crabb and Lotman, who started their tournament campaign from Thursday’s qualifiers, recovered from an early 5-3 advantage the way of their bronze medal match opponents, 22nd-seeded Adrian Heidrich and Leo Dillier of Switzerland, to take control on the court and break away with a three-point lead of their own. At the end, the Americans scored four in a row to close the first set at a six-point margin. In the second set, the Swiss held on to their narrow early lead for much longer, but once Crabb and Lotman got a hold of a 17-16 advantage, they never looked back. They added another three in a row to reach match point. Three rallies down the road, Lotman tipped the ball over Heidrich’s block for the 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) winner. With all other scoring elements perfectly balanced between the two teams, it was the unforced errors that made the big difference in this game. Lotman was by far the best scorer of the match. His 23-point match high included three kill blocks.

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Both semifinals earlier on Sunday were rather straightforward too. Ahman and Hellvig were quite emphatic in shutting out Heidrich and Dillier. The Swedes outplayed the Swiss in all elements and with Hellvig delivering a match high of 19 points, including six kill blocks and two aces, the European champs mastered a 2-0 (21-15, 21-12) victory.

In a similar fashion, the Capogrossos dominated their match with Crabb and Lotman and claimed a 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) win. Nicolas Capogrosso hammered out 20 points, all in attack, to lead the match scorers.