Espinho Four Star
The women’s field was whittled down to four, while the men advanced to the first elimination round after pool play on Friday.
Still remaining in the women’s semifinals are Americans Sara Hughes/Summer Ross, Australians Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho del Solar, Brazilians Maria Antonelli/Carol Solberg Salgado and Poland’s Kinga Kolosinska/Katarzyna Kociolek.
No. 6 Hughes/Ross knocked out fellow Americans Brittany Hochevar/Kelly Claes 21-19, 21-12 in the Final Eight to reach the semifinals. The duo also won two other straight set matches on Friday.
First semifinalists at the #EspinhoOpen on the #BeachWorldTour emerge – Hughes and Ross of 🇺🇸 USA! Look how happy they are… @USAVBeach @FPVoleibol #beachvolleyball pic.twitter.com/URXs8Mvsrl
— Beach Volleyball (@FIVBBeach) July 6, 2018
Kolosinska/Kociolek also fought through three matches on Friday, including a tiebreak win over Japan’s Azusa Futami/Akiko Hasegawa in the Round of 16.
No. 5 Clancy/Artacho del Solar went the distance in both of its matches, playing just two after being crowned the Pool E champions. The pair upset second ranked Brazilians Barbara Seixas de Freitas/Fernanda Alves (18-21, 21-17, 15-12) and took out No. 3 Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson of Canada (21-12, 11-21, 15-9).
Maria Antonelli/Carol won the Pool D title, earning them a spot in the Round of 16, but from there it took two three-set affairs to move on to the semifinals. First, the duo took out countrywomen Ana Patricia Silva Ramos/Rebecca Cavalcanti (21-15, 19-21, 15-13). In the Round of Eight, the pair held on for a 21-13, 16-21, 15-8 win over China’s Fan Wang/Xinyi Xia.
Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings/Nicole Branagh lost in the Round of 16, falling to Wang/Xia 22-20, 21-17.
On the men’s side, eight pool titles were awarded, with four of the top five seeds among them.
Pool winners were:
- Pool A: No. 1 Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena (USA)
- Pool B: No. 2 Vitor Felipe/Evandro (Brazil)
- Pool C: No. 14 Grant O’Gorman/Ben Saxton (Canada)
- Pool D: No. 4 Janis Smedins/Aleksandrs Samoilovs (Latvia)
- Pool E: No. 5 Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst (Austria)
- Pool F: No. 22 Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan (Qatar)
- Pool G: No. 10 Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs (Latvia)
- Pool H: No. 9 Anders Berntsen Mol/Christian Sandlie Sorum (Norway)
Of the eight winners, only Plavins/Tocs advanced with two straight set victories. The Latvians took out No. 7 John Hyden/Theo Brunner 21-19, 21-15 in the pool title match.
Nine of the 16 first round pool play matches went to tiebreak. Pool winners Dalhausser/Lucena, O’Gorman/Saxton, Cherif/Ahmed Tijan and Mol/Sorum went the distance with all but the Canadians rallying after dropping the opening set. The Americans fell 31-29, but won four in a row after that to claim Pool A.
Five of the 16 second round matches went three sets with the Pool B, D and E titles being decided in tiebreak. Vitor Felipe/Evandro rallied after dropping the opening set 21-19 to top Cubans Diaz Nivaldo/Sergio Gonzalez (19-21, 23-21, 15-13). Smedins/Samoilovs outlasted Brazil’s Ricardo/Guto (21-15, 15-21, 17-15) and Doppler/Horst bested Russians Konstantin Semenov/Ilya Leshukov 23-21, 15-21, 15-8.
Americans Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb and Bill Kolinske/Miles Evans also moved on to Saturday’s action.