Three Australian teams advanced to the quarter final stage of the Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 event in Torquay today, including Tokyo Olympic silver medalists Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Commonwealth Games champions Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett.
Clancy and Artacho del Solar were flawless, disposing of the US team of Emily Stockman and Megan Craft in straight sets before beating the Poland duo of Gruszczynska/Wachowicz with the same result.
“We had played Emily a numerous amount of times and we had also played Kraft once, so we knew that we definitely had to be on our game. We had a really great start and we kept the pressure over time and that’s why we were able to get those good runs and good leads,” said Clancy after the first of their two wins.
Artacho del Solar added she was very grateful for all the crowd support, in particular from the younger audience on the stands in Torquay.
“It was really cute to have the kids cheering for us. We don’t often get the chance to play at home, so it’s really special to get the opportunity to play in front of our friends and family and our home crowd,” said Artacho del Solar.
McHugh and Burnett were also unstoppable, delivering their third win in a row against Austria to top Pool A and book a ticket to the Men’s quarter finals.
“The pool was wide open, Austria had beaten Switzerland yesterday night, so we knew we had to win today,” said Chris McHugh. “It’s awesome to be here in Australia, playing in front of friends and family, so we couldn’t be happier to have moved through to the quarter finals. We want to keep pushing through to the Final. It’s the last event of the season so we want to finish strong.”
“The Elite 16 is the highest level on the Beach Pro Tour, this is where the best of the best is and this is where we want to be competing and winning games, so it’s as good as it gets here,” echoed Burnett.
On the men’s side, the fate of Aussie pairs of Mark Nicolaidis and Izac Carracher and Thomas Hodges with Zachery Schubert hung in the balance until the third and decisive pool match.
Despite going down to France in their final pool match, Thomas Hodges and Zachery Schubert had done enough in their other matches to go through to their first quarter final, qualifying as second in pool B.
“It’s our first Elite 16 and it’s our first quarter final. We’re looking to get a medal because at the last few events we’ve been getting fifth. Obviously it’s a tougher tournament, but it’s still a great opportunity to have a crack at a medal match,” said Schubert.
The quarter finals of the Torquay Elite 16 will start Friday at 12pm, with semifinals following later in the day from 6pm.
The 1pm match will be an all-Australian affair, with the two men’s sides set to face off in the quarter finals.
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