Carol and Bárbara smile at the end of a productive day in Tepic

Brazilians Bárbara Seixas and Carol Salgado had a challenging opening day ahead of them in the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Tepic Elite16, but the veterans were up for the task and, with two wins, are among the first teams to secure their spots in the elimination rounds of the event held at the Amado Nervo Auditorium, in Mexico.

With two victories and only one more match to play in the Pool A of the main draw, the 35-year-old Brazilians are guaranteed to finish pool play at least in third place, which would be enough to take them to the Round of 12. On Friday, Bárbara and Carol will try to secure another win and progress directly to the quarterfinals.

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Ranked third in the FIVB World Rankings, Bárbara and Carol faced Spanish qualifiers Liliana Fernández and Paula Soria and had a strong performance to top the Europeans in two sets (21-18, 21-16). Later, they faced reigning world champions and FIVB World Ranking leaders Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa and Ana Patrícia Ramos and again came out on top, overcoming their compatriots in the tie-breaker (21-14, 13-21, 15-11).

“We feel great,” Bárbara said after their second match in the day. “We’re really motivated to be here. We have a tough pool and just had a difficult match against Duda and Ana. We’re trying to bring our best to each match, but also to have fun in the process. We’re really happy with our start.”


Bárbara digs in the all-Brazilian Pool A matchup

Bárbara and Carol will complete their pool play schedule on Friday, against Canadian Olympians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson, who share the second place in the pool with Duda and Ana Patrícia - each team ended the first day with a win and a loss.

“The energy of the crowd has been amazing here,” Carol reacted. “Every match is really tough in Elite16 events and now we’ll rest and prepare to do our best tomorrow and finish pool play strong.”

Dutch Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam also went undefeated on the first day of the main draw in Tepic, winning both their Pool B matches and also booking their spots in the elimination rounds. The winners of the Doha Elite16 event topped Canadians Sarah Pavan and Sophie Bukovec 2-0 (21-13, 21-18) and then defeated Latvians Tina Graudina and Anastasija Samoilova also in straight sets (21-17, 21-15).


Schoon and Stam are yet to drop a set in the Tepic Elite16

Italian qualifiers Marta Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi are in the exact same position as the Dutch as they also claimed straight-set victories against the same opponents on Thursday. They started their journey by downing Tina and Anastasija 2-0 (22-20, 21-16) and ended the day overcoming Pavan and Bukovec also in two sets (21-12, 23-21). On Friday, while Dutch and Italians will play for the top spot in the pool, Latvians and Canadians will duel to avoid elimination.

Friday’s match schedule, which starts at 9:00 local time (16:00 UTC), will have the conclusion of pool play and the Round of 12, which will reunite teams ranked second and third in their pools. The four pool winners will advance directly to the quarterfinals and will only get back on the court on Saturday.