Beach Volleyball

Ittlinger and Borger lead strong European performances in Xiamen

Beach Pro Tour

Article Sun, Apr 28 2024
Author: Guilherme Torres

European teams had their most productive performances on the 2024 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour so far this weekend, when they took home five of the six medals in play at the Challenge event held in Xiamen, China.

Borger and Ittlinger won all their five matches in Xiamen (Photo: Volleyball World)

Coming from three medals won at last week’s Tepic Elite16, teams from the continent dominated the Chinese event, getting a medal sweep in the women’s tournament and taking home silver and bronze among the men.

Germans Sandra Ittlinger and Karla Borger shone the brightest in the event, completing their undefeated campaign of five matches with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-14) win over Swiss Olympic medalists Joana Mäder and Anouk Vergé-Dépré in the final to take the title.

Deeply involved in the race to qualify for the Paris Olympics, the Germans earned valuable 800 ranking points and got to celebrate their first victory as partners in 18 Beach Pro Tour events – before this week’s event, they had a second-place finish at last year’s Goa Challenge, where they lost to Mäder and Vergé-Dépré in the final, as their best result.

The all-European bronze medal match in Xiamen had last year’s CEV EuroBeachVolley silver medalists Daniela Álvarez and Tania Moreno of Spain topping Lithuanians Monika Paulikiene and Aine Raupelyte in two sets (21-16, 21-15) to complete the podium.

The presence of four European duos in the semifinals illustrated the continent’s dominance in the women’s event as all eight teams appearing in the quarterfinals were from the region – Austria’s Ronja Klinger/Dorina Klinger, France’s Alexia Richarda/Lézana Placette, Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Louisa Lippman and Spain’s Liliana Fernández/Paula Soria finished fifth.

Among the men, French Youssef Krou and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat advanced the furthest, going all the way to the gold medal match, where they fell to Chilean Olympians Marco and Esteban Grimalt in the tie-breaker (17-21, 21-18, 15-9).

The French secured their fourth medals on the Beach Pro Tour, following gold at the 2022 Torquay Elite16, silver at the 2023 Itapema Challenge and bronze at the 2023 Lille Futures.

In the bronze medal match, Lukas Pfretzschner and Sven Winter found their way to the podium in back-to-back events with 2-1 (15-21, 21-15, 15-13) victory over Americans Chase Budinger and Miles Evans – they had taken silver at the Guadalajara Challenge earlier this month.

From China, the Beach Pro Tour returns to Brazil as the country’s capital Brasília hosts the next Elite16 event of the season next week, from May 1-5.