Challenge - Espinho, POR - 2023 - Beach Pro Tour 2023 season - News

Xue/X. Y. Xia (CHN) vs. Talita/Thamela (BRA) - Round of 16 #4991670

Xue and partner Xia will play in Espinho

The 2023 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Espinho Challenge will feature four beach volleyball world champions in the women’s event, which will be held from July 13-16 at the Praia da Baia, in Portugal.

The women’s field in Espinho will count on 48 teams, which will represent 25 different countries and all five continents during the four-day event held in the Portuguese coastal city.

  • Watch the Beach Pro Tour Espinho Challenge live on VBTV

A 2015 world champion, Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Ágatha Bednarczuk is one of the four world champions entered in the Espinho Challenge. Seeded first in the Espinho Challenge main draw with new partner Rebecca Cavalcanti, the 40-year-old veteran has recently returned to the sand after giving birth to her daughter Kahena and will play in Portugal the third international event after her comeback.

Her partner in the 2015 world title, Bárbara Seixas will be in action in Espinho. The Olympic medallist and partner Carol Salgado are seeded second in the main draw, ahead of Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Valentina Gottardi (third) and Thailand’s Taravadee Naraphornrapat/ Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee (fourth).

A 2013 world champion and a Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, Chinese Chen Xue is seeded fifth alongside partner Xiniy Xia. The 34-year-old blocker and her partner won the Itapema Challenge earlier this season, in April.

The other 11 teams secured in the Espinho main draw are Slovenia’s Tjasa Kotnik/Tajda Lovsin, Brazil’s Tainá Bigi/Victoria Lopes, Spain’s Daniela Álvarez/Tania Moreno, Argentina’s Ana Gallay/Fernanda Pereyra, Poland’s Jagoda Gruszczynska/Aleksandra Wachowicz, Italy’s Margherita Bianchin/Claudia Scampoli, Switzerland’s Zoé Vergé-Dépré/Esmée Böbner, USA’s Betsi Flint/Julia Scoles, Brazil’s Andressa Cavalcanti/Vitoria Rodrigues, Portugal’s Beatriz Pinheiro/Ines Castro and Italy’s Viktoria Orsi Toth/Reka Orsi Toth.

**Beach Pro Tour Espinho Challenge – Women's Entry List**

The fourth world champion, Canadian Sarah Pavan, who won the title in 2019, will be in the qualifier with new partner Molley McBain. The two will try to make it to the main draw on the Beach Pro Tour together for the first time after failing to advance at the Jurmala Challenge and the Gstaad Elite16.

Pavan/McBain (CAN) vs. Gottardi/Menegatti (ITA) - Round 1 #5614940

Pavan is starting a new partnership with McBain

The women’s qualifier in Espinho will also feature six other Olympians – Czechs Barbora Hermannová and Marketá Sluková, Germans, Karla Borger and Julia Sude, Spanish Liliana Fernández and Brazilian Talita Antunes.

The tournament will begin with the qualifier on Thursday, when 32 teams will battle for the eight remaining spots in the main draw. The main phase of the event will have 24 duos and will begin on Friday, and end on Sunday, with the medal matches.

The Espinho Challenge will offer US$ 75,000 in prize money per gender and valuable points in the qualification process for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

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