Terese Cannon

The new American pairing of Terese Cannon & Megan Kraft had a successful debut as a team in Wednesday’s qualifiers at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Paris Elite16. After Cannon’s previous partner Sarah Sponcil converted to indoor volleyball and Kraft’s previous teammate Emily Stockman put an end to her career, Terese and Megan joined forces and scored two wins on the first day of their international journey together to make it to the main draw of the top-level tournament at the Roland-Garros Stadium in the French capital.

In addition to Cannon & Kraft, Finland’s Taru Lahti-Liukkonen & Niina Ahtiainen, Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk & Rebecca Cavalcanti and Germany’s Louisa Lippmann & Laura Ludwig also advanced to Thursday’s women’s main draw, while Austria’s Julian Horl & Alexander Horst, Chile’s Marco Grimalt & Esteban Grimalt, Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer & Robert Meeuwsen and Brazil’s Pedro Solberg & Gustavo Carvalhaes (Guto) emerged with tickets to the men’s last 16.

  • Watch the Beach Pro Tour Paris Elite16 main draw live on VBTV.

Cannon & Kraft ran over both of their qualifier opponents in straight sets. In their first match, they hammered out a 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) shutout of Austria’s Dorina Klinger & Ronja Klinger. Then, they went on to master a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) sweep of their deciding match with France’s Aline Chamereau & Clemence Vieira.

Playing in position 12 of the qualification bracket, Ahtiainen & Lahti were the lowest seeded duo to advance to the main draw. The Finns started their day by delivering a hard-fought 2-1 (23-21, 23-25, 15-11) upset of Latvia’s Anastasija Samoilova & Tina Graudina, in which Ahtiainen impressed with eight serving aces. Then they cruised to a convincing 2-0 (21-12, 21-14) victory over Ukraine’s Valentyna Davidova & Ievgeniia Baieva, who had spoiled Olympic champion Alix Klineman’s return to international competition with her new partner Hailey Harward after a break of almost two years by defeating them in the first round by 2-1 (21-15, 16-21, 15-13).

Qualification bracket leaders Ludwig & Lippmann lived up to their status and produced two emphatic victories on the way to the main draw. First, they showed no mercy to France’s representatives Pia Szewczyk & Saofe Duval in a 2-0 (21-10, 21-11) shutout with eight kill blocks from Lippmann. Then, the Germans knocked out Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists Joana Mader & Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland with the help of nine blocks from Lippmann towards a 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) sweep.

Agatha & Rebecca also went through the qualifiers without dropping a set: 2-0 (21-10, 21-16) over Czechia’s Miroslava Dunarova & Daniela Resova and 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) over Canada’s Sarah Pavan & Molly McBain.

The first men’s team to qualify for Thursday’s pool play were Horl & Horst. They started off by eliminating 2022 World Championship runners-up Renato Lima & Vitor Felipe of Brazil in a convincing 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) straight-setter, but then they had to work for their main draw spot in a hard-fought 2-1 (23-21, 13-21, 15-13) victory over United States’ Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner with a 31-point match high from Horl.

The Grimalt cousins, on the other hand, had to resort to tie-breaker resolutions in both their victories on Wednesday. In the first round, the Chileans overcame the resistance of USA’s Chaim Schalk & Tri Bourne to claim a 2-1 (21-18, 22-24, 15-11) win. In the second, eighth-seeded Marco and Esteban knocked out top-seeded Australians Thomas Hodges & Zachery Schubert  in a 2-1 (21-17, 16-21, 15-11) three-setter to become the lowest ranked men’s team to push through the qualifiers.

Last year’s Paris Elite16 runners-up Brouwer & Meeuwsen had to down two strong opponents on the way to the main draw, but did so without dropping a set. First, the Dutchmen mastered a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) victory over USA’s Chase Budinger & Miles Evans. Then, they achieved a 2-0 (21-11, 21-17) win over Spain’s Pablo Herrera & Adrian Gavira.

Pedro Solberg & Guto were the last team to book their spot in the men’s pool play after mounting a 2-1 (11-21, 21-14, 15-13) comeback against Lithuania’s Patrikas Stankevicius & Audrius Knasas in the last match of Wednesday’s competition day. Before that, the Brazilians managed a 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) sweep of their opening game against rising French stars Arthur Canet & Teo Rotar.

Main draw action on Thursday starts at 09:00 local time (07:00 UTC) with women’s pool play, as reigning world champions Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) & Ana Patricia Ramos of Brazil take on USA’s Betsi Flint & Julia Scoles on centre court, while Ahtiainen & Lahti challenge reigning European champions Nina Brunner & Tanja Huberli of Switzerland on court 2.