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2019-03-11 11:12:00 CET

Grimalts keep up momentum in Oz

Chileans continue their resurgence with gold in Sydney

Esteban (left) and Marco all smiles in Sydney. (Photo: FIVB)Esteban (left) and Marco all smiles in Sydney. (Photo: FIVB)

Having failed to register a single top-10 finish during the entire 2017 season, Chilean cousins Esteban and Marco Grimalt have had to work hard to get their mojo back on the World Tour.

Last season the duo’s determination paid off with victory in the four-star event in Tokyo last July, in what was the South American’s first ever gold on the World Tour.

This weekend, in Sydney, Australia, the pair doubled their gold medal tally with a fine run of six successive victories to take an all-important 600 ranking points towards Olympic qualification and a prize of 10,000 US Dollars.

Having already represented Chile at the Olympics, the pair want to do so again and they are also eyeing another World Championship after they finished 17th in Vienna two years ago.

Tougher challenges will face the cousins this season but the pair can take confidence from a gold medal match victory against Enrico Rossi and Adrian Carambula.

There is more to Esteban and Marco’s 21-18, 21-12 win over the Italians than meets the eye. The European pair looked slick all week Down Under, playing in their first tournament together as a team. Carambula’s career on the sand has plummeted to despairing depths since a ninth place finish in Rio in 2016. That season saw the defender and then-partner Alex Ranghieri win two gold medals as they earned their place on the Copacabana on merit. Last season, Carambula didn’t earn a penny from seven tournaments he competed as he struggled to find a regular teammate.

Today was not a good day in the office as we lost the final just not playing our best ball 🥈But it was an even worse day yesterday when my brother @youssef_krou went down with a shoulder injury. This is a small gesture to let him know he was in our thoughts and that we wish him a quick recovery. Heal up my bro. Thank you all for all of the messages 😃 quick turn around for us as we are leaving to Doha tonight to start competition on Tuesday. Enjoying the journey. One Love ❤️ #MrSkyball #thewilsonvb #beachvolleyball #insolluwetrust #beachvolley #aeronauticamilitare

1,749 Likes, 36 Comments - Adri (@adrian_carambula) on Instagram: "Today was not a good day in the office as we lost the final just not playing our best ball 🥈But it..."

That’s all changed now of course, and with Rossi by his side, the future of this dynamic duo is certainly interesting. Their vibrant brand of ball definitely caught the eye in Manly, as did their results in black-and-white. Wins over Cole Durant and Damien Schumann, the fancied home pairing, was backed up with back-to-back wins against experienced American teams. In a little over an hour’s play, the Italians had beaten both Hyden/Doherty and Allen/Slick to reach the final against the Grimalts. They are results not to be sniffed at.

Much was expected of the United States’ teams in Sydney. Yet after a promising beginning it ended with Billy Allen and Stafford Slick taking bronze by forfeit, following an injury to France’s Youssef Krou in his and Edouard Rowlandson’s semifinal match against the Grimalts.

The medal for Allen and Slick maybe crucial when it comes down to deciding which teams from the US compete at both the World Championships in Hamburg and, of course, in Tokyo next year.

For now, attention on the men’s tour turns to Doha where a number of the top teams will compete for the four-star prize in the biggest tournament of the year to date.

One-star glory for Russia in Cambodia

Meanwhile, in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, Russian duo Maxim Sivolap and Artem Yarzutkin took gold in the one-star Anchor Beach Volleyball Carnival event.

The number one seeds beat South Africa’s Grant Goldsmith and Leo Williams 21-18, 21-18 in the final. Danish duo Jacob Brinck and Mads Rosager took bronze, defeating young Austrians Moritz Kindl and Arwin Kopshar in three sets.

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