09.07.2019 - Gstaad
Such was the depth of the qualification here in Gstaad we had a feeling, a premonition if you will, that all would not be so straightforward for some of the top teams in action on Tuesday in the Alps.
After all, after such a slog at the World Championships in Hamburg last week, the physical and mental exertion would have taken its toll on the body and mind of any top athlete.
In a few cases, so it proved on a warm day under the mountains as Gstaad’s 20th anniversary opened under blue skies.
And it was a blue day for a few of those teams who starred inside the Red Bull Beach Arena last week.
Austrians Robin Seidl and Phil Waller, ninth in Hamburg, out.
Americans Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil, ninth in Hamburg, out.
Argentina’s Ana Gallay and Fernanda Pereyra, 17th in Hamburg, out.
In total, 12 teams who played in Hamburg were sent packing on day one. 12-and-a-half if you include Damien Schumann, who was playing with a different partner here, Zachery Schubert.
But it wasn’t a bad day at the office for everyone.
The strong qualification line-up also had Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins starting out before many of their regular rivals. It was the first time, in what is their 77th tournament together, that the duo had played in qualification. Thankfully for them they recorded a straight sets win over Turkey’s Murat Giginoglu and Volkan Gogtepe.
Also through on the men’s side were Grant O’Gorman and Ben Saxton of Canada and another Latvian duo, Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs. Having won their country quota matches yesterday there were also main draw tickets for Casey Patterson and Chase Budinger and Saymon Barbosa and Guto Carvalhaes.
Also making it through to the pool play phase were German stars Laura Ludwig and Maggie Kozuch, who came through two qualification matches, beating teams from Japan and the Netherlands, while their compatriots Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider also took two wins on Tuesday.
Completing a good day on the sand for Latvia, Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka, who finished ninth in Hamburg, also made it through to the main draw after beating Greek pair Vasiliki and Penny Karagkouni.
But the winners of day were Russians Ksenia Dabizha and Daria Rudykh. The pair are playing in their first Beach Major Series tournament as team but showed no nerves, winning the first match on the Center Court of the tournament against Australia’s Phoebe Bell and Jessyka Nguaumo of Australia. They then dumped out Claes and Sponcil in straight sets later in the day. No team will want to face them in the pool play.