Espinho Four Star
One hundred teams (55 men’s and 45 women’s) made their way to Espinho, Portugal for a chance to compete in the FIVB Four Star event this week.
Thirty-two teams per gender will participate in the main draw, with 24 earning spots right away and eight joining the main draw after qualification matches on Wednesday and Thursday.
Top seeds of the tournament are Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan of Canada on the women’s side amongst a field that already includes three American teams, two from Canada and two from Japan and pairs from 14 other countries.
On the men’s side, Americans Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena earned the top overall seed. The pair will compete alongside Brazilian stars Alison Cerutti/Andre Loyola Stein and Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves Oliveira as well as teams from Canada, Latvia, Russia, Argentina, Austria, Chile, Cuba, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Qatar and Spain.
Action began on Tuesday with country quota matches for the Brazilian women. Ana Patricia Ramos/Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva bested Josi/Lili in straight sets to move on to the qualification rounds (23-21, 21-17).
Men’s country quota matches featuring Brazil and United States were played on Wednesday. Miles Evans/Bill Kolinske edged past Jeremy Casebeer/Reid Priddy to move on for the Americans (16-21, 21-15, 15-7). After receiving a bye to the country quota final, Ricardo Costa Santos/Gustavo ‘Guto’ Carvalhaes topped George Wanderley/Thiago Santos Barbosa to claim the final spot for Brazil.
Once in qualification, eight women’s teams from eight different countries played their way to the main draw. All 12 matches ended in straight sets.
Ana Patricia/Rebecca, who won the Brazilian country quota match on Tuesday topped Portugal’s Brigida Ferreira/Daniela Loureiro and Switzerland’s Nicole Eiholzer/Elena Steinemann, to advance to the main draw. Joining the Brazilians were:
- Julie Gordon/Sophie Bukovec (Canada)
- Anna Behlen/Sarah Schneider (Germany)
- Agata Zuccarelli/Gaia Traballi (Italy)
- Yui Nagata/Minori Kumada (Japan)
- Ieva Dumbauskaite/Urte Andriukaityte (Lithuania)
- Jagoda Gruszczynska/Aleksandra Wachowicz (Poland)
- Angela Lobato/Amaranta Navarro (Spain)
Americans Amanda Dowdy/Irene Pollock fell to Gruszcynska/Wachowicz (21-17, 21-18) to fall just short of the main draw.
On the men’s side, after 19 matches, five that ended in tiebreak, two German teams and six from other countries including Americans Evans/Kolinske, are through to the main draw.
Turkish side Safa Urlu/Hasan Mermer were the lone team to go the distance in the first qualifying round, besting France’s Olivier Barthelemy/Romain Di Giantommaso (15-21, 21-17 ,15-11). The pair was not as fortunate in its second match, falling via tiebreak to Germany’s Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler.
In addition to Thole/Wickler, the following teams claimed a spot in the main draw.
- Robin Seidl/Christoph Dressler (Austria)
- Ricardo/Guto (Brazil)
- Alexander Walkenhorst/Sven Winter (Germany)
- Lazar Kolaric/Stefan Basta (Serbia)
- Nejc Zemljak/Jan Pokersnik (Slovenia)
- Murat Giginoglu/Volkan Gogtepe
- Miles Evans/Bill Kolinske (USA)
Six of the eight qualifiers made their way through two matches on the day. Ricardo/Guto (Brazil) and Thole/Wickler earned byes to the second round.
Americans Evan/Kolinske topped Nicolo Conti/Francesco Cottarelli of Italy in straight sets before moving on with a 21-11, 15-21, 15-11 win over Norway’s Mathias Bernsten/Hendrik Mol.