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BPT Challenge Torquay Men -AUSvsCZE-56

Jiri Sedlak and Jan Dumek rejoice after defeating the top seeds

The Czech Republic’s Jan Dumek and Jiri Sedlak produced the biggest upset of the first competition day in the men’s main draw at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge event in Torquay. The 24th-seeded qualifiers shocked the top-seeded home pair of Christopher McHugh and Paul Burnett in Thursday’s last match on the men’s programme at Elephant Walk in the southern Australian seaside resort.

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Dumek and Sedlak were well in control of the first set, but McHugh and Burnett were emphatic in the second to push the game to a tie-breaker. The Aussies stormed the third set on a 4-0 run, but the Czechs gradually came back to level it at 9-9 and power on to reach their first match point at 14-12. The home team kept fighting, only to succumb at the opponents’ fourth match point as Sedlak’s monster block shaped up the 2-1 (21-18, 10-21, 17-15) victory.

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In the other Pool A game, Spain’s Javier Huerta and Alejandro Huerta took a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) win over England’s Issa Batrane and Frederick Bialokoz. So, as the second leg of men’s pool play takes place on Friday, the Spaniards will take on the Czechs for the first place in the final pool standings, while the English and the Australians lock horns for the third place and to stay alive in the tournament.

In one of Thursday’s tightest matches, Austria’s Christoph Dressler and Maximilian Trummer came out on top of an extended first set, but then their opponents, England’s Javier Bello and Joaquin Bello came back to earn a 2-1 (22-24, 21-19, 15-12) victory. In the Pool B final, the Englishmen will meet second-seeded Australians Thomas Hodges and Zachery Schubert, who produced a 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) shutout of Japan’s Takumi Takahashi and Shiro Furuta.

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The only other three-setter in the first leg of men’s pool play occurred in Pool C. 15th-seeded Israelis Eylon Elazar and Netanel Amiram Ohana managed a 2-1 (21-16, 20-22, 15-6) upset of 10th-seeded Joao Pedrosa and Hugo Campos of Portugal. In the other pool match, young Australians James Takken and Solomon Bushby pushed third-seeded Daniele Lupo and Enrico Rossi to overtime in one of the sets, but the Italians did not allow any surprises and claimed a 2-0 (21-15, 22-20) victory.

Three Olympians took part in a highly anticipated Pool D clash between fourth-seeded Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri of Italy and Latvian qualifiers Martins Plavins and Mihails Samoilovs. After narrowly winning the first set, the Italians dominated the second for 2-0 (21-19, 21-12). They can expect another tough battle for the top of the pool standings as they face France’s Calvin Aye and Quincy Aye, who managed to defeat USA’s Kyle Friend and Timothy Brewster in two tight sets, 2-0 (21-19, 23-21).

BPT Challenge Torquay Men -FRAvsUSA-9

Quincy Aye blocks a shot from Kyle Friend

The first competition day was successful for two of the three French teams competing in Pool F. While 17-year-old Arthur Canet and 18-year-old Teo Rotar mastered a 2-0 (23-21, 21-15) win over Serbia’s Lazar Kolaric and Djordje Klasnic, sixth-seeded Youssef Krou and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat celebrated a 2-0 (21-18, 21-19) victory in the all-French clash with Julien Lyneel and Remi Bassereau.

The Pool E final will feature Australia’s Izac Carracher and Mark Nicolaidis against Switzerland’s Quentin Metral and Yves Haussener, after both teams swept their Thai opponents. The Aussies produced a 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) shutout of Pithak Tipjan and Poravid Taovato, while the Swiss claimed a 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) win over Surin Jongklang and Banlue Nakprakhong.