BLOG: Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 – Doha QAT

BLOG: Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 – Doha QAT

Day 3 – Thursday 7 March

Tom Hodges and Zac Schubert fought bravely overnight but have gone down to Norway’s Anders Berntsen Mol/Christian Sandlie Sørum in their third and final pool match at the opening Beach Pro Tour Elite16 of the year.

The third seeds got the jump on the Australians in the first set and never surrendered the lead, however the second set was blow for blow early on. The Norwegians gradually took control and held two match points at 20-18, however a short and sharpe flick of the switch saw Hodges and Schubert reel off four consecutive points and a decider beckoned.

The third set started much like the second with no side able to gain an advantage until the tide turned at five-all. In a decisive turn, Norway won eight of the next nine points to claim an unassailable lead they were able to hold onto until the end.

Hodges and Schubert now turn their sights to Brazil where they are scheduled to play two Beach Pro Tour Challenge tournaments in Recife (21-24 March) and Saquarema (28-31 March).

Day 2 – Wednesday 6 March

Wednesday wasn’t the brightest day for Australia at the Elite16 in Doha however all is not lost as the pool matches come to a close on Thursday.

Zac Schubert and Tom Hodges suffered pool match losses to higher-seeded opponents but still have a chance of proceeding to the round of 12 if they can win their final pool match.

First up was a showdown with Netherlands’ sixth seeds Stefan Boermans and Yorick de Groot. The Dutch pair took down the Australians in a tight three-set match at the Paris Elite16 last year, and they kept that record intact with a 2:0 (21-16, 21-17) win.

Next up were USA duo Trevor Crabb and Theodore Brunner who had the edge over Hodges and Schubert last year. The Americans eliminated the Australians in the round of 16 in the World Championships in Mexico, before coming from a set down at the Challenge event in China in November to knock the Australians out in the semi-finals.

Crabb and Brunner had the best of the early exchanges, but down by two midway through the first set the Australians were well in the hunt. However when the Americans took the score from 13-11 to 20-12 in the space of eight points, the set was over.

USA picked up where they left off in the second set, opening up an 8-4 lead, and Australia were only ever able to get within three points a Crabb and Brunner took the match in 29 minutes.

Hodges and Schubert will play Norwegian third seeds Anders Berntsen Mol and Christian Sandlie Sørum in their final pool match.

** Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar withdrew from the women’s main draw due to an aggravated elbow injury suffered by Taliqua.

Day 1 – Tuesday 5 March

Tom Hodges and Zac Schubert have qualified through to their third career Elite16 main draw after back-to-back wins in qualifying.

In their opening encounter, the Aussies came up against Portugal’s Joao Pedrosa and Hugo Campos who they played and defeated three times in 2023, including a pool match at the World Championships in Mexico.

While the Portuguese team won the first point of the match, it was the only time they led with Hodges and Schubert always in control on their way to a two-set win.

That set up clash with Swiss pair Marco Krattiger and Florian Breer. The head-to-head record going into this match stood at 1-1, however the Swiss won their last encounter in Brazil last year.

In the first set, Switzerland had all the momentum, their first 15 points coming in two or three point bursts to establish the early advantage. Australia hit back in a tighter second set, with a decider to determine who progressed to the main draw.

The early exchanges were even, but at 4-3, Australia won 10 of the next 13 points to set up a match-winning lead and take their place in the main draw.

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