SARA HUGHES AND KELLY CHENG TAKE WOMEN’S TORQUAY CHALLENGE TITLE
The USA team of Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng were crowned Torquay Challenge champions today after defeating Lvwen Yuan and Jie Dong (CHN) in the Women’s Final of the Beach Pro Tour tournament, the first of three events featured in the Great Ocean Road Beach Volleyfest.
The top seeded team of the Challenge event were dominant, leading from the very first point and throughout the game to close out the final in two sets, 21-11, 21-16. Playing in their first international tournament together after splitting their original partnership in 2018, the Americans showed that their old chemistry is still there despite training together for just over a month.
“Going into the Final our mindset was to go in there, grab the win and play as hard as we can, don’t let up. And I think that showed,” Hughes commented after the match. “That was an amazing Chinese team and it was really fun to play against them, but we knew what we wanted and we took it.”
“We really wanted to establish the momentum,” echoed her teammate Cheng. “I feel like we did that with every play, and maybe once or twice we didn’t, but we reset and put the pressure right back on them.”
“There are still plenty of details for us to work out, but the chemistry for sure is back, which makes it very fun,” Cheng said.
The American team have been enjoying their Australian experience so far and are looking forward to playing again in the Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 tournament which starts next Tuesday in Torquay.
“It’s so beautiful here. We got some sunshine for the Final, so that was amazing and everyone here has been so nice. We’re so happy to be competing here,” Hughes said.
Earlier on Championships Super Sunday, the Bronze medal final saw another USA v CHN clash, with Xinyi Xia and MeiMei Lin (CHN) overcoming Emily Stockman and Megan Kraft (USA) to claim a spot on the Torquay Challenge Women’s podium. Stockman and Kraft took a close first set 21-19, but a huge momentum swing saw everything going China’s way in the second set behind some strong serving from Xia (21-14). The decider was again close at the start, but China pulled away in the middle of the set and took advantage of their second match point to secure the bronze medal 15-9.
The Torquay Challenge Finals programme continues with the Men’s Bronze Medal match scheduled for 5pm on centre court, where Australian Commonwealth Games champions Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett will take on Joao Pedrosa and Hugo Campos of Portugal.
The Men’s Gold Medal match will follow at 6pm, with the two Italian teams of Alex Ranghieri/Adrian Carambula and Daniele Lupo/Enrico Rossi fighting for the Torquay Challenge title.
All Finals matches are streamed live exclusively on Kayo Freebies (kayosports.com.au/freebies).
For the full results, head over to the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour website.