Doha: No one came even close to being able to stop Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak at this week’s Doha Challenge as the Poles secured their second Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour title in spectacular fashion at the Al Gharafa Beach Courts.
The winners of the season-opening Tlaxcala Challenge back in March, Bryl and Losiak completed their perfect week of play in the Qatari capital with a two-set (21-18, 21-15) victory over Italians Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava to take the title on Sunday.
The Poles were never in danger during their campaign in Doha, winning all their six matches in three days in straight sets. Besides the titles in the Qatari capital and Tlaxcala, the Tokyo Olympians also finished fourth at the Rosarito Elite16 and ninth at the Itapema Challenge in what is their first season as partners.
The victory in Doha was even more special for the 27-year-old Bryl, who won the first title of his international career in the city, back in 2020, when he and Grzegorz Fijalek triumphed in an FIVB World Tour event.
“Everything feels perfect right now,” he said after the conclusion of the tournament. “Doha is the best place for me because it’s my second final here and my second victory. I think our blocking and defence were really good and maybe that was the difference in the final.”
After the teams exchanged points at the start of the gold medal match, the Poles took advantage of a good serving run from Losiak to build a 10-7 lead. Bryl and Losiak kept pushing and quickly were 17-12 ahead. They comfortably reached set point at 20-16, but allowed the Italians to score two in a row. A well-timed timeout break disrupted Nicolai’s serving rhythm and the Olympic medallist sent the ball into the net to give the Poles a 21-18 victory.
The Poles took an earlier lead in the second set and scored four of the first five points, but a couple of strong defensive plays from the Italians levelled the two sides at four points. A trickle ace by Bryl gave the Polish breathing room at 8-5 and they used their nearly flawless side out game to maintain the lead until the end, when Bryl blocked Nicolai to end the match 21-15.
After this tournament, we’ll take a quick break and enjoy this medal, which is really special for us,” Losiak remarked. “We have several important tournaments coming up soon and we’ll try and prepare the best we can so we’re able to play at the same level we did here this week.”
Austrians Martin Ermacora and Moritz Pristauz completed the all-European podium in Doha with their first international medal since November 2020. The bronze medallists of the 2019 European Championship topped Dutch Stefan Boermans and Yorick de Groot in straight sets (21-17, 21-18) to take bronze in Doha.
In the semifinals, Bryl and Losiak came out on top against the Austrians 2-0 (21-18, 23-21) while Nicolai and Cottafava survived a three-set (16-21, 21-9, 15-11) battle against the Dutch.
The men will return to the sand on the Beach Pro Tour next week, with the Spanish capital Madrid hosting a Futures tournament from May 12-15. The fourth Challenge event of the season will take place in Kusadasi, Turkey, from May 19-22.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee