Challenge - Itapema, BRA - 2023 - Beach Pro Tour 2023 season - News


China's Wang and Zhu were among the pool winners in Itapema

They had to play six sets to do it, but Germans Karla Borger and Sandra Ittlinger were one of the six pool winners in the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Itapema Challenge on Friday and headed into the elimination rounds undefeated.

With 16 of the 24 teams that started the main draw at the Meia Praia Beach on Friday still in contention, the elimination rounds being on Saturday in Brazil, with the eight Round of 16 duels and the four quarterfinals set to be played during the day.

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Playing in just their fourth Beach Pro Tour event as partners, the 34-year-old Borger and the 28-year-old Itllinger have secured at least a ninth-place finish this week in Itapema, matching the best results their team had so far, at last year’s Paris Elite16 and this year’s La Paz Challenge.

In Brazil, the Germans were faced with two Chinese teams in Pool F and needed three sets to overcome both of them, defeating Fan Wang and Jie Dong 2-1 (22-20, 18-21, 15-11) in the morning and coming from behind to top Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia also in the tie-breaker (18-21, 21-11, 15-7) hours later.

“I’m glad that we won and that we got to play so many sets,” Borger told Volleyball World. “We need more competition and that was exactly what we got today. Playing in the afternoon with the rain was entirely different than in the morning and we had to adapt to it. The second match was also challenging for us because that was a new team that had never played before and we had to develop our strategy during the match. Winning these two matches gave us a lot of confidence, but a new tournament starts tomorrow.”

As the top team in Pool F, the Germans are guaranteed in the Round of 16 and wait until the end of the day to find out who their next opponents will be.

“The season is only getting started and we can feel everyone is still a little nervous,” Ittlinger added. “There are, of course, some adjustments we still need to make but I’m very happy that we found our rhythm and fought for every ball. Winning that second match gave us a lot of confidence and we’ll see how the elimination round plays out.”

Pool D also had teams from China and Germany fighting for the top spot and this time the Asians were the winners, with Xinxin Wang and Lingdi Zhu overcoming Borger and Ittlinger’s former partners Julia Sude and Isabel Schneider in three sets (21-12, 18-21, 16-14).

In another duel between Europeans and Asians, Finnish Niina Ahtiainen and Taru Lathi dominated Japanese Miki Ishii and Sayaka Mizoe to win in the tie-breaker (21-18, 10-21, 16-14) and claim first place in Pool E.

Two American teams finished at the top in their groups with Betsi Flint and Julia Scoles winning Pool B after their two-set (21-18, 25-23) victory over Brazilians Tainá Bigi and Victoria Lopes and Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil triumphing in two sets (21-16, 21-18) over Swiss Zoé Vergé-Dépré and Esmeé Böbner to top Pool C.

Top-seeded Brazilians Bárbara Seixas and Carol Salgado were the final pool winners in Itapema – they were first in Pool A following their three-set (21-19, 16-21, 15-13) victory over Americans Kelley Kolinske and Hailey Harward.


Brazilians Bárbara and Carol defeated teams from Canada and the United States on Friday