Grimalt/Grimalt on track to Paris

29.04.2024 - Xiamen

A thrilling beach volleyball duel took place in Xiamen, in which the Chilean cousins took another step closer to the Olympics. The Germans Ittlinger/Borger managed to turn the tables on Vergé-Dépré/Mäder in straight sets.

In the round of 16 of the Xiamen Challenge, Grimalt/Grimalt defeated their direct Olympic rivals Hörl/Horst in three sets. The Austrians initially looked like the sure winners in this nerve-wracking Olympic duel, leading 21-19 and 20-16, before the tide turned and the Chileans got on the winning track, taking the deciding set 15-11.

The semi-final against Germany's Pfretzschner/Winter was also won 2-1 by the Chileans (21-18, 19-21, 15-12), who did not let anything stop them and confidently progressed to the final match against France's Krou/Gauthier-Rat. With a hard-fought 2-1 victory (17-21, 21-18, 15-9), they won their second medal on the Beach Pro Tour after their triumph at the 2022 Elite 16 tournament in Gstaad. The cousins have already competed in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 and are now on course for their third Olympic appearance this summer.

The bronze medal went to Pfretzschner/Winter, who put their skills to the test against the Americans Evans/Budinger, beating them 2-1 (15-21, 21-15, 15-13). The Germans have done respectably so far after taking home silver at the Guadalajara Challenge earlier this month.

In the women’s tournament, Germans Ittlinger/Borger got to celebrate their first gold on the Beach Pro Tour. Previously they had won a silver medal at the Goa Challenge last year, where they lost to Vergé-Dépré/Mäder, but they could return the favor this time around, beating the Swiss 2-0 (22-20, 21-14). Vergé-Dépré/Mäder are still in a tight race for a spot at the Paris Olympics, just ahead of their compatriots Böbner/Vergé-Dépré, Z. but still far behind reigning European champions Hüberli/Brunner, keeping fans of the Swiss teams on their toes.

Finishing third and earning the bronze medal were Spanish Álvarez/Moreno. After defeating Lithuanians Raupelyte/Paulikiene 2-0 (21-16, 21-16), they collected valuable points in the world ranking, securing the duo’s path to Paris. Though they already finished fifth in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics, this would be their first participation in the adult competition.