Sydney, Australia, November 22, 2017 – Pairs from seven different countries made it through the men’s qualifications and qualified for the main draw at the Sydney two-star event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. None of the home teams from Australia, however, were among those who succeeded in Wednesday’s competition on Manly Beach.
Out of the 18 qualification matches, only two went on to be resolved in a tie-breaker third set, both in the first round. On both occasions, the winners continued their victorious quest into the second round and made it to the main draw.
Japan's Yusuke Ishijima blocks a shot by Australia's Justin Schumann
Japan’s Kensuke Shoji and Yusuke Ishijima took 53 minutes to overcome the resistance of Australia’s Justin Schumann and Mitchell Wakefield for a 2-1 (21-16, 22-24, 15-8) victory. Shoji and Gottsu then cruised to a speedy 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) win against compatriots Takumi Takahashi and Jumpei Ikeda.
New Zealand’s Rene Kapa and Morgan Seymour came back from a set down against Canada’s Jake MacNeil and Dallas Keith to claim a 2-1 (19-21, 21-13, 15-11) victory in the first round. In the second, the New Zealanders outplayed another North American duo, USA’s Adam Wienckowski and Miles Partain, on the way to a 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) shutout.
New Zealand’s Rene Kapa serves during the match against Canada
China's Jiaxin Wu and Lei Li, Switzerland's Quentin Metral and Simon Hagenbuch, Czech Republic's Jan Dumek and Vaclav Bercik and Italy's Andrea Abbiati and Tiziano Andreatta were the other four pairs that won two qualification matches each and made the main draw line-up.
Also joining them will be “lucky losers” Olivier Barthelemy and Romain Di Giantommaso from France. They lost to Jiaxin Wu and Lei Li in the second round, but will take the spot of a late-withdrawal team from Brazil.
China's Jiaxin Wu blocking against France's Romain Di Giantommaso
As many as four Australian pairs gave the qualifications a try, but they all lost in the first round. Still, the home fans will have the pleasure of supporting the three duos of the host country, seeded directly into the men’s main draw.
US beach volleyball legend Randy Stoklos, the first player to earn $1,000,000 playing competitive beach volleyball, attended Wednesday’s qualifications. “Despite no Australians getting through qualifying today, the locals will still be favourites in the main draw to win the tournament,” he commented. “However, they will have a target on their back and it will be interesting to see how they perform under pressure. We are in for an exciting tournament. The weather is fantastic and the fact that it will be quite hot and humid will make it tough on the teams from Europe. They are not used to those conditions and that is an advantage for the local teams.”Read more: Million dollar man tips Aussies
Men’s main draw action on Manly Beach will get underway on Thursday, following the women’s qualification tournament.