BPT Challenge Espinho - Women Main draw - ARGvs AUT_02

Dorina hits during the Austrians' match against Gallay and Pereyra

Dorina and Ronja Klinger’s first appearance in the main draw of a Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge event is shaping up as a memorable one after the Austrian sisters topped their pool in Espinho, Portugal, on Friday.

With two victories on the second day of competition at the Praia da Baia, the Klingers, who had won another two matches in Thursday’s qualifier, are guaranteed a top-ten finish at the fifth Challenge in the Beach Pro Tour’s inaugural season.

“We came out of the qualifier and our main goal for this season was to qualify for the main draw in a Challenge event,” Dorina said. “I think that helps in the sense that we are playing freely now and just enjoying that we are able to remain in the tournament for at least another day. We’ll see how far we can go now.”

· Watch all the matches at the Espinho Challenge live or on demand on Volleyball TV.

Playing in Pool E, Dorina, 25, and Ronja, 22, had a complicated opening match in the main draw, but were able to prevail against Argentinean Olympians Ana Gallay and Fernanda Pereyra in the tie-breaker (16-21, 21-17, 15-12).

Later, the two players, who took gold in a Beach Pro Tour Futures tournament in Ios, Greece, earlier this month, built from a tight first-set victory to dominate the Canadian McNamara twins Megan and Nicole to a 2-0 (25-23, 21-16) win that granted them the top spot in the pool.

The encounter between the two teams formed by sisters was a long time overdue, but didn’t lack excitement and great plays from both sides.

“We’re very good friends with the McNamaras,” Ronja commented. “We went to college in the United States at the same time they did, so we know each other really well. But it was actually the first time we got to play them and that was really interesting because their playing style is the exact opposite of ours. It’s crazy and really cool that we won that match. It was a great one and I believe the fans had a lot of fun with it.”

Klinger D./Klinger R. Highlights vs. Megan/Nicole

Americans Emily Day and Savvy Simo caused the biggest upset of the day when they defeated top-seeded Australians and Tokyo Olympic silver medallists Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho in three sets (15-21, 21-17, 15-11) to finish at the top of Pool A.

The Pool B winners were Czechs Barbora Hermannova and Marie-Sara Stochlova, who took second-seeded Germans Karla Borger and Julia Sude down in another three-setter (14-21, 21-19, 17-15). Third-seeded Brazilians Andressa Cavalcanti and Vitoria Rodrigues were able to confirm their ranking against Thailand’s Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee/Taravadee Naraphornrapat in Pool C and won 2-1 (15-21, 21-11, 15-10) to secure the first place.

Borger/Sude vs. Hermannova/Stochlova - Match Highlights

Another Brazilian team dominated Pool D, where Taiana Lima and Hegeile ‘Hege’ Santos topped Americans Emily Stockman and Megan Kraft in straight sets (21-13, 21-17). The Pool F winners were Spanish pair Paula Soria and Sofia Gonzalez, who prevailed over Germans Sandra Ittlinger and Isabel Schneider also in two sets (23-21, 21-10).

BPT Challenge Espinho - Women Main draw - BRAvs UKR_10

Taiana and Hege were among the six pool winners in Espinho

The women’s tournament continues in Espinho on Saturday with the Round of 18, the Round of 16 and the quarterfinals. The semifinals and medal matches will be played on Sunday, the last day of the competition at the Praia da Baia.