25.06.2019 - Hamburg, Germany
Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt – Chile (10)
Team: 33rd (2013), 17th (2015), 17th (2017)
Marco: 33rd (2013), 17th (2015), 17th (2017)
Esteban: 33rd (2013), 17th (2015), 17th (2017)
Nikita Liamin/Taras Myskiv – Russia (18)
Liamin: 3rd (2017)
Juan Virgen/Lombardo Ontiveros – Mexico (32)
Team: 17th (2013), 9th (2015), 17th (2017)
Virgen: 17th (2013), 9th (2015), 17th (2017)
Ontiveros: 17th (2013), 9th (2015), 17th (2017)
Lars Flüggen/Nils Ehlers – Germany (40)
Flüggen: 33rd (2017)
This is arguably one of the most unpredictable pools of the World Championships as each of the four teams could end anywhere from the top to the bottom. In theory, Marco and Esteban Grimalt are the team is best form and, alongside with Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen, the most experienced at this level and with better chemistry. Don’t underestimate Nils Ehlers and Lars Flüggen, though. The Germans are still playing below expectations, but there’s probably no better place for them to turn things around than their home sand. Nikita Liamin and Taras Myskiv are an even newer team, but they had some meaningful victories in the three World Tour tournaments they played together.
It’s always fun when two big blockers meet at the net and that’s exactly what’s going to happen when the Germans play the Russians. It’s going to be the second match for both teams and it could be a deciding one depending on their debut results in Hamburg. Monday, July 1, at 5pm CET. Red Bull Beach Arena.
Virgen and Ontiveros held an impressive winning streak over the Grimalt cousins securing seven straight victories over them between 2012 and 2018. Their run came to an end just a couple of weeks ago, when the Chileans beat the Mexicans in the World Tour four-star event in Warsaw.
Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins - Latvia (11)
Team: 9th (2013), 9th (2017)
Samoilovs: 37th (2007), 9th (2009), 17th (2011), 9th (2013), 17th (2015), 9th (2017)
Smedins: 4th (2011), 9th (2013), 9th (2017)
Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter – Canada (17)
Team: 9th (2017)
Pedlow: 9th (2017)
Schachter: 9th (2015), 9th (2017)
Adrian Heidrich/Mirco Gerson – Switzerland (27)
Gerson: 9th (2015)
Ignacio Zavalla/Gaspar Lammel – Chile (44)
Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins are the safest bet to top the pool, but the Latvians haven’t been at their best form lately and could easily be challenged by the Sams, Pedlow and Schachter, who have been a consistent team on the World Tour lately. Adrian Heidrich’s physicality at the net and Mirco Gerson’s savviness in defense could make of the Swiss tough opponents for both Latvians and Canadians, however. Ignacio Zavalla and Gaspar Lammel are being prepared to succeed the Grimalt cousins Marco and Esteban in Chile and have a massive opportunity in front of them to make a good first step in the international scene.
It’s always a battle when Latvians and Canadians cross paths in the World Tour. The teams have met three times since 2017 and each of these matches went to three sets, with the Canadians winning two of them. Get ready for another close one in Hamburg, especially if the top spot of the pool is in play. Wednesday, July 3, at 11am CET. Court 2.
Adrian Heidrich is part of one of the four sets of siblings set to compete at the World Championships as her sister Joana pairs with Anouk Vergé-Dépré in the women’s tournament. The others are Brazilians Pedro and Carol Salgado, Americans Taylor and Trevor Crabb and the Canadian twins Megan and Nicole McNamara. His partner, Mirco, also has a sister who plays in the World Tour, Dunja, but she didn’t qualify for Hamburg.
Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler – Germany (12)
Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb – United States (14)
Bourne: 5th (2015)
Bahman Salemi/Arash Vakili – Iran (36)
Salemi: 37th (2017)
Patrick Kavalo/Olivier Ntagengwa – Rwanda (46)
Unlike most of the other pools, this one has a clear cut between top teams and bottom ones. Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler are Germany’s biggest hope of success and will be pushed unconditionally the home crowd. Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb seem to be the only barriers between them and the top spot of the pool. Iran’s Bahman Salemi/Arash Vakili and Rwanda’s Patrick Kavalo/Olivier Ntagengwa will give all they have when they face each other as it will probably be their best hope of getting out of pool play.
The duel between Iran and Rwanda will be a historic one since the winners will give their country its first-ever victory at the World Championships. If that wasn’t enough, whoever comes out on top will very likely be granted at least a shot in the lucky losers match to advance from pool play. Tuesday, July 2, at 6pm CET. Court 3.
This is the only of all 24 World Championships pools to not contain an Olympian in it. Tri Bourne nearly played at the Rio 2016 Games as John Hyden and him finished in the top-15 of the Olympic rankings, but behind two other Americans teams and were left out due to the country quota.