Beach Pro Tour - News

Hüberli/Brunner (SUI) vs. Stam/Schoon (NED) - Final 1st Place #14358492

Huberli & Brunner triumphant after the Tepic final

Switzerland’s Nina Brunner & Tanja Huberli celebrated their first-ever Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour gold after defeating Netherlands’ Katja Stam & Raisa Schoon in the extended tie-breaker of a three-set women’s final at the Elite16 event in Tepic on Sunday. In another spectacular three-setter, in which each of the sets was pushed to overtime, Brazil’s Barbara Seixas & Carol Solberg squeezed out a bronze victory over Italy’s Marta Menegatti & Valentina Gottardi.

Swedish jump-setters David Ahman & Jonatan Hellvig defended the Tepic trophy in yet another tie-breaker resolution on Sunday, edging Brazil’s Andre Stein & George Wanderley in three sets to celebrate their seventh Beach Pro Tour gold. Cuba’s Noslen Diaz & Jorge Alayo continued their fabulous season by snatching bronze at their first Elite16 main draw appearance after beating Germany’s Clemens Wickler & Nils Ehlers in a straight-set third place game.

Åhman/Hellvig (SWE) vs. George/Andre (BRA) - Final 1st Place #14363946

The 2024 Tepic Elite16 men’s podium

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Reigning European champions Huberli & Brunner, who previously had two silver and two bronze medals on the Tour, this time made it all the way to the top of the podium. The ninth-seeded pair won all six of their matches in Tepic and the only set they dropped along the way was the second set of the gold medal match against sixth-seeded Stam & Schoon. The Swiss team persevered through a furious tie-breaker battle, pushed deep into overtime, before claiming a 2-1 (21-14, 19-21, 19-17) victory. For Stam & Schoon, the Tepic silver was the eighth medal on the Tour. Huberli & Brunner’s achievement will certainly come in handy in their tight race with the other two top Swiss duos towards the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

After 16-14 in the first set, they closed it off with five points in a row. In the second set, Huberli & Brunner came back from an early three-point deficit to level it at 9-9, after which the gap never exceeded two points and Stam & Schoon managed to level the score on their first set point for a 21-19 win. The Swiss ran off with a four-point lead early into the tie-breaker, but the Dutch caught up at 10-10 to prompt a nip-and-tuck ending. The next time the gap exceeded one point was at 19-17 Huberli & Brunner’s way. Huberli led the way with four kill blocks towards a 26-point tally. Brunner added another 22 points, including three aces. Stam was the best scorer of the match with 29 points, including four blocks and an ace, while Schoon finished with 11 points.

Earlier on Sunday, fourth-seeded Carol & Barbara survived a nail-biting duel with 10th-seeded Menegatti & Gottardi to pick up the bronze for their 12th Beach Pro Tour podium. After three overtime sets of hammer-and-tong beach volleyball, the Brazilians produced a 2-1 (22-20, 21-23, 25-23) victory. As if to illustrate the balance in this match, Carol and Menegatti shared the top scorer honours with 30 points each, while Barbara and Gottardi finished with 22 points apiece.

Hüberli/Brunner (SUI) vs. Stam/Schoon (NED) - Final 1st Place #14363924

The 2024 Tepic Elite16 women’s podium

Playing in their seventh back-to-back major tournament final (also counting the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship and the CEV European Championship), Ahman & Hellvig managed a 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-10) victory over Andre & George, Brazil’s top team, who had to start their Tepic campaign from Wednesday’s qualifiers. The 22-year-old Swedes have now collected seven gold, three silver and one bronze medals on the Beach Pro Tour, while for Andre & George, this was the second silver and ninth overall medal.

After staying well in charge of the first set, Ahman & Hellvig stormed into an early four-point lead in the second. However, Andre & George fought back to stay close behind and then scored six in a row to step in front with a 15-11 advantage. The Swedes never managed to fully recover from that and the 15th-seeded Brazilians pushed the match to a third set. The tie-breaker was quite balanced through 8-8, after which Ahman & Hellvig mastered a couple of long runs to reach the victory at 15-10. Hellvig’s blocking was the winners’ main weapon in this match and delivered as many as nine points towards the victory. He finished with 23 points, while Ahman hammered a match-high 27, all in attack. The two Brazilians scored 21 points each.

Åhman/Hellvig (SWE) vs. George/Andre (BRA) - Final 1st Place #14364384

Ahman & Hellvig celebrate the gold medal victory

In Sunday’s only straight-setter, 13th-seeded Diaz & Alayo, who also started the tournament from the qualifiers, delivered a 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) upset of fifth-seeded Wickler & Ehlers. Alayo contributed six kill blocks towards the victory to finish with 21 points, while Ehlers was the best scorer of the match with 23. It was the fourth consecutive final four finish on the Beach Pro Tour for the Cuban duo. It the previous three Challenge events, they collected two silvers and a fourth place. The Tepic tournament was the first time they played in an Elite16 main draw and the bronze earned will help them a lot in their quest to climb up the provisional Olympic ranking and qualify for Paris.