Vaduz, Liechtenstein, August 11, 2018 – 14th-seeded Americans Alexandra Wheeler and Lara Dykstra, who came into the main draw from Wednesday's qualifications, won gold at the Vaduz one-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. While this was the first ever FIVB tournament for 22-year-old Wheeler, this the first ever World Tour medal for both her and her 25-year-old partner Dykstra, who is also a silver medallist from the 2014 U23 World Championship.
10th-seeded Agata Ceynowa and Martyna Kloda were the highest ranked pair to get a medal at Vaduz. Last week, at Ljubljana, the 20-year-old Poles reached their first final four on the World Tour and now, at Vaduz, they went even further to claim silver, their first podium finish.
The bronze went to 11th-seeded Greeks Dimitra Manavi and Konstantina Tsopoulou. While for 25-year-old Tsopoulou this is the second medal on the World Tour after last year’s bronze at Monaco, for 21-year-old Manavi it’s the maiden podium finish on the Tour.
The women's podium at Vaduz
Wheeler and Dykstra dominated the gold medal match against Ceynowa and Kloda. The Americans cruised to the top of the podium with a straight-set win – 2-0 (21-13, 21-17). “Above all, we used the tournament to grow as a team and gain confidence in ourselves. We succeeded well and we are very happy that we could win one of our first overseas tournaments,” they said.
In the bronze medal match, Manavi and Tsopoulou won the first set against top-seeded Esmee Boebner and Zoe Verge-Depre of Switzerland by a solid margin. Boebner and Verge-Depre reacted by winning the second set in an even more emphatic fashion. In the hard-fought tie-breaker, the Greeks completed the upset by the narrowest of margins for a 2-1 (21-14, 10-21, 15-13) victory. “We just played point by point and always believed in ourselves, even after we lost the second set so badly,” they said.
Konstantina Tsopoulou attacks against Agata Ceynowa in one of the semifinals at Vaduz
To advance to the big final, Ceynowa and Kloda managed a speedy 2-0 (21-15, 21-14) semifinal shutout of Manavi and Tsopoulou. In the earlier semifinal, Wheeler and Dykstra took 37 minutes to hammer out a 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) upset of Boebner and Verge-Depre. “We made just a few more points and it was a really tight game. We just wanted to focus on ourselves and play a good game. We managed to do that, more or less,” Wheeler commented.