Gavira spikes past Bourne’s block in Kuşadası

Gavira spikes past Bourne’s block in Kuşadası

In the longest set since the start of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour, Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira came out on the winning end of an amazing 38-36 close against Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb to cruise on to the top of their pool as the men’s main draw action got underway at the Kuşadası Challenge on Friday.

Saturday’s action will see the 18 teams, who survived the first phase by finishing among the top three of their pools, battling it out in a direct elimination format to determine the four semifinalists by the end of the day.

· All the matches of the Kuşadası Challenge will be available to watch live or on demand on Volleyball TV.

After winning the epic battle in their opening set, Spain’s Herrera and Gavira rode the momentum to dominate the second and shut out USA’s Bourne and Crabb by 2-0 (38-36, 21-12). Their next challenge in the Pool D final was just as tough, but the well-seasoned Spaniards managed to get the job done in straight sets again, 2-0 (21-13, 21-19) over Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins, seeded fourth. Bourne and Crabb had another heavy fight for the third place and will have to start packing after losing to Matthew Immers and Mart Van Werkhoven of the Netherlands in three sets, 2-1 (20-22, 17-21, 10-15).

“We are really happy with the two victories today,” Herrera told Volleyball World. “Now we have some time to rest and prepare for the next game. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, but we need to win again to go to the quarterfinals.”

Adrian Gavira's top plays against Bourne & Crabb

Mathias Berntsen and Hendrik Nikolai Mol, who advanced to the main draw on a tie-breaker win in Thursday’s qualifiers, made it through Friday without dropping a set. They were the lowest-ranked pair to win their pool. The 19th-seeded Norwegians started off their Pool F campaign with an emphatic 2-0 (21-10, 21-9) straight-setter against sixth-seeded Turks Hasan Huseyin Mermer and Safa Urlu and followed it up with a convincing 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) shutout of seventh-seeded Italians Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi. To the home fans’ delight, Mermer and Urlu grabbed the third place with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) win over Australia’s Izac Carracher and Mark Nicolaidis.

In a similar fashion, Sweden’s David Ahman and Jonatan Hellvig cruised through Pool B on the wings of two straight-set victories, 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) over Austria’s Alexander Huber and Christoph Dressler in the first round and 2-0 (21-17, 21-13) over second-seeded Chileans Noe Aravena and Vicente Dorguett in the pool final. The Austrians progressed as the third-placed team in the pool, knocking out Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich and Leo Dillier in the losers’ face-off.

Budinger & Field v Kantor & Rudol: Match Highlights

Poland’s new pairing of Piotr Kantor and Maciej Rudol made a victorious Beach Pro Tour debut. They topped the standings in Pool E after winning two tie-breakers by the narrowest of margins. First, Kantor and Rudol recovered from losing an extended first set to Dutchmen Ruben Penninga and Leon Luini to turn it around to a hard-earned 2-1 (23-25, 21-19, 18-16) win. Then they celebrated a 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 15-13) victory over USA’s Chase Budinger and Troy Field in the pool winners’ match. Fifth-seeded Austrians Martin Ermacora and Moritz Pristauz also advanced to the knockout stage after shutting out Penninga and Luini for the third place in the pool.

Clemens Wickler and Nils Ehlers went through Pool C unbeaten. To get their main draw campaign to a good start, the Germans delivered a solid 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) shutout of Switzerland’s Marco Krattiger and Florian Breer, but in the pool final they had to recover from a set down against third-seeded Aussies Christopher McHugh and Paul Burnett and hammer out a 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 15-9) comeback. The third place went to Austria’s Julian Horl and Alexander Horst, who managed a three-set victory over the Swiss team.

Grimalt & Grimalt v Evandro & Alvaro Filho: Match Highlights

Top-seeded Chilean cousins Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt lived up to their status and won Pool A. They claimed a 2-0 (21-12, 21-10) win over Latvia’s Arturs Rinkevics and Ardis Bedritis in their opening match and topped it with a 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 15-8) comeback victory over the strong Brazilian duo of Evandro Oliveira and Alvaro Filho. France’s Youssef Krou and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat took a three-set victory over the Latvians in the third-place game.