Guadalajara Beach Volleyball Heats Up Paris Race

Surprise upsets rocked Guadalajara Beach Volleyball. Switzerland's Bobner/Vergé-Depré shocked Brazil's Agatha/Rebecca in women's final. Unranked Germans Winter/Pfretzschner pushed US favorites Brunner/Crabb to the limit in men's.

Guadalajara Beach Volleyball Heats Up Paris Race
An image of the American team, Brunner and Crabb, celebrating a point during their thrilling comeback victory against the Germans, Winter and Pfretzschner, in the men's final. Credit: CONADE

The Guadalajara Beach Volleyball Challenge, a tournament that is part of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) World Tour, came to an end this Sunday after four days of vibrant duels enjoyed by a passionate audience that saw Switzerland and the United States crowned in the women's and men's divisions, respectively.

The four best pairs of the tournament appeared at a Pan American Tennis Complex at its maximum capacity (2,500 people), seeking to climb to the top of the podium and add ranking points that are transcendental in the final stretch of the process to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

In the first final of the afternoon, the Swiss Esmée Bobner and Zoé Vergé-Depré, ranked 19th in the Olympic ranking, defeated with authority 2-0 (21-12 and 21-16) the experienced Brazilian Olympians Agatha/Rebecca, who could not develop their game and gave in to the incessant attacks of the Europeans.

Unlike the previous duel, starring pairs that are at the top of the world list, the men's final looked like a total unknown, since one of the contenders for the gold medal were the Germans Sven Winter and Lukas Pfretzschner, who occupy the 73rd position in the ranking and that made a splash by leaving behind duos from the 'Top 20' such as the Brazilians Evandro/Arthur (ninth) and the Americans Chase Budinger/Miles Evans (fourth).

The last challenge for the Germans to accomplish the feat were the also North Americans Theodore Brunner and Trevor Crabb, numbers 14 in the world and fourth in the Tlaxcala 2023 World Championship, who despite being significantly surpassed in the first set (12-21) made adjustments to take the second episode (21-19) and consolidate the comeback in the last chapter with a run of 15-12.

The Canadians Sophie Vukobec, world runner-up in Rome 2022, and the Olympian Heather Bansley took bronze by beating the Germans Karla Borger/Sandra Ittlinger 2-0 (21-18 and 21-14). While Evandro/Arthur from Brazil did the same with their 2-0 victory (21-13 and 21-17) against the Cubans Noslen Díaz and Jorge Alayo.

The teams that won the gold medals obtained 800 points for the ranking, the second places 760 points, the third places 720 and the fourth places 680.

After the success achieved at this stop on the FIVB World Tour, Mexico will get ready to host the Elite 16 Tepic, which will feature the presence of the monarchs in Tlaxcala 2023: the Czechs Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner, and the Americans Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes, among other Olympic and world medalists.