Tri Bourne in flight

Tri Bourne in flight

Another three men’s pairs secured their advancement to the Round of 32 at the Beach Volleyball World Championships Rome 2022 on Sunday as second-leg matches in Pools G though L took place at the Foro Italico. Host country pair Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava and USA’s Trevor Crabb and Tri Bourne reserved the top two places in the Pool K standings, while reigning Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway booked their ticket from Pool H. The vacant berths from the other four pools are still up for grabs.

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11th-seeded Crabb and Bourne and 14th-seeded Nicolai and Cottafava lived up to their status of Pool K favourites and claimed their second straight-set wins. The Americans mastered a 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) shutout of Colombia’s Johan Murray and Sneider Rivas, while the Italians snatched a 2-0 (21-10, 21-10) victory over Thailand’s Surin Jongklang and Banlue Nakprakhong in the last men’s match of the day’s programme. On Monday, the two undefeated pairs will lock horns for the first place in the pool, while the Thais and the Colombians will engage in a head-to-head battle for survival as the third-placed team.

Mol and Sorum did not allow any surprises in their second Pool H game and defeated Leon Luini and Ruben Penninga of the Netherlands by 2-0 (21-10, 21-17). It was the first defeat for the Dutch pair. In the other pool match on Sunday, the lowest seeded Italian representatives, Davide Benzi and Carlo Bonifazi delighted the home crowd with their first win, a 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) shutout of Chile’s Noe Aravena and Vicente Droguett. Ahead of their game against the winless Chileans on Monday, the eighth-seeded Norwegians lead the pool standings on a 2-0 win-loss record. The Dutch and the Italians will go face to face for the honour to join the Vikings among the best two of the pool.


Christian Sorum in action

The number nine team in the FIVB World Ranking, Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller of Austria registered their second straight-set victory in Pool I, this time a hard-fought 2-0 (21-13, 24-22) win over Italy’s Jakob Windisch and Gianluca Dal Corso, handing the home pair their first defeat in the pool. The team Seidl and Waller are going to meet on Monday, Chile’s Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt scored their first victory on Sunday, a 2-0 (22-20, 21-16) clean slate against Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Maciej Rudol, who have yet to win their first match at Rome 2022. Each of the four teams still have a shot at the Round of 32, but none of them have it in their pocket yet.

“It’s amazing here! It’s an amazing stadium! Everything is beautiful and we just enjoy playing here,” Waller told Volleyball World after the team’s second win. “Tomorrow we continue like yesterday and today, match by match, step by step, and we’ll see...”

“We’ve played a lot of tournaments to get us in a good rhythm, to be ready, to solve any problems that come our way... And now we feel good. We are here to win matches and that’s what we are doing,” added Seidl who is playing at his fifth World Championship.


Seidl focused on defence while Waller is preparing to serve

Pool J produced a couple of surprising results on Sunday to place the four participating teams on equal foot ahead of Monday’s last matches, with a 1-1 win-loss record each. First, Uruguay’s Hans Hannibal and Marco Cairus, seeded 34th, delivered a 2-1 (21-19, 15-21, 15-13) upset of the world’s seventh-ranked duo, Christopher McHugh and Paul Burnett of Australia. Then, 39th-seeded Cubans Noslen Diaz and Jorge Alayo came back from a set down to celebrate with a 2-1 (18-21, 23-21, 15-10) win over 15th-seeded Germans Nils Ehlers and Clemens Wickler. So as the Uruguayans face the Cubans and the Aussies take on the Germans on Monday, anything is possible. The winners of these two encounters will certainly advance, but only one of the two losing teams will stay in contention.


McHugh against Hannibal at the net

No one is safe to advance in Pool G just yet either. Austria’s Martin Ermacora and Moritz Pristauz took their second victory in that pool on Sunday. After downing Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira on Saturday, they bounced back from losing the first set against China’s Jiaxin Wu and Likejiang Ha on Sunday to turn it around to a 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 15-13) win. But with the Spaniards recovering with a 2-0 (28-26, 21-16) shutout of seventh-seeded Dutch pair Matthew Immers and Stefan Boermans, the Austrians could still drop below the top two in the pool unless they win their third match against Immers and Boermans on Monday.

The situation in Pool L is quite similar. One of the Brazilian pairs, 13th-seeded Alison Cerutti and Gustavo Carvalhaes (Guto) edged forward by mastering a 2-0 (21-17, 21-9) shutout of Nicaragua’s Ruben Mora and Denis Lopez, their second win in the pool, while their 12th-seeded compatriots Renato Andrew and Vitor Felipe suffered an upset at the hands of Mark Nicolaidis and Izac Carracher. The 36th-seeded Australians persevered through their second three-setter in Rome, but this time rejoicing with the victory, 2-1 (21-9, 17-21, 15-12). This turn of events assigns some extra importance to Monday’s all-Brazilian clash as the direct advancement of the losing side to the Round of 32 is put at risk.