Montpellier, France, August 28, 2018 - The qualification round of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 1-Star event in Montpellier took place on Tuesday to complete the Main Draw due to start on Wednesday. It is the very first tournament counting towards the qualification process for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. At the end of the day, four teams per gender progressed to the Main Draw.
Esmee Bobner/Zoe Verge-Depre of Switzerland were the last women’s team to qualify; they enjoyed a bye in the first round earlier in the morning and after that they beat the experienced Czech team Miroslava Liskova/Lucie Cencova 2-0 (21-13, 21-11). The young Swiss team showed their quality, and they did so especially in the second set through Zoe’s stunning attacks.
Felicia Granberg/Johanna Wikberg of Sweden qualified for the Main Draw as well. After a bye, in what is only their sixth tournament together, they beat Japan’s Hiroko Matsuyama/Marie Wada 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) to make sure they would continue their campaign on Wednesday.
It was a successful day for the twin sisters Audrey and Nicole Nourse too. The Americans made it to the Main Draw with two straight wins in as many matches. They first beat Finland’s Aliisa Vuorinen/Valma Prihti in a match that lasted 43 minutes featuring numerous turnarounds. After the American team took the first set (21-17), the Finnish team fought back. The Nourse twins had as many as five match balls before they emerged victorious 16-14 at the tiebreak. Later in the afternoon, the Nourse twins needed only 26 minutes to record a 2-0 (21-7, 21-14) victory in their matchup with Russia’s Ekaterina Filina and Ekaterina Lubenets.
Audrey and Nicole Tourse (USA) celebrate their qualification for the Montpellier Main Draw
A second Swiss team, Kim Huber and Tatjana Greber, qualified for the Main Draw as well. They claimed a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Canada’s Rian Lenarduzzi/Anna Dunn-Suen (21-14, 18-21, 15-13) after earlier in the day they defeated Allison Spurrier/Melissa Fuchs of USA.
Martin Sramek/Dominik Samec of the Czech Republic had an excellent day in Montpellier. They first beat Canada’s Adam Thompson/Roland Bouchard 2-0 (27-25, 21-10) and after that, they came back from a set down to edge Hungary’s Balazs Benko/Botond Olah 15-13 at the tiebreak to secure their spot in the Main Draw.
Mark Garcia-Kidd/Freddie Bialokoz of England have made it to the Main Draw as well. They first beat Romania’s Bogdan Necula/Tudorel Farcas 2-1 (15-21, 23-21, 15-10) before needing another three sets and 41 minutes to edge Switzerland’s Immanuel Zurcher/Jonathan Jordan.
France’s Arnaud Loiseau/Adrian Caravano started their home campaign against Norway’s Erlend Henriksveen/Vegard Lokken, who earlier in the day had claimed the Scandinavian derby with Peter Lundgren/Jakob Wijk Tegenrot of Sweden. Loiseau and Caravano are playing together for the very first time and many fans came together at Theatre Helios to support by Loiseau and well-placed attacks by Caravano. The fans were standing on their feet and provided the home heroes with the extra boost they needed to make sure that as many as six French teams would feature in the Main Draw.
Jamaine Naidoo and Leo Williams of South Africa secured the last spot in the Main Draw. They impressed the audience with an easy win against the Italian team Lorenzo Panerati/Emanuele Labate 2-0 (21-5, 21-13) before they delivered another strong performance against Artur Hajos/Bence Attila Streli of Hungary. Naidoo and Williams claimed a 2-0 (21-17, 22-20) victory to qualify for the Main Draw – a truly remarkable achievement after they had spent 20 hours to drive from Prague to Montpellier.