Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Humana-Paredes are the Queens of Miami Beach, although they didn’t realize it in the moment. But when it sunk in, they celebrated the emphatic win. Estonians Kusti Nõlvak and Mart Tiisaar had a glorious tournament on South Beach, they were the smartest and most creative players all weekend. They now have a complete podium at King of the Court, after bronze in Utrecht and silver in Hamburg 2022. Vodafone Queen & King of the Court Miami Beach was the first stop on the Crown Series 2023, we couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the season.
Canadian Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Humana-Paredes both had two previous appearances in Queen of the Court, both were in the 2018 test events of Waikiki, Hawaii and Huntington Beach, California. Melissa won a bronze and a silver with Sarah Pavan, she can now also complete her set of podium finishes.
The two Canadians had a great run in Miami Beach, they won their quarter- and semifinals and showed excellent form throughout. They are a fairly new couple, but it never showed. Consistency was the key word, there was never any doubt as to who would become Queens. In the final they beat Brazilian legends Larissa Franca Maestrini and Lil Maestrini and Czech powerhouses Barbora Hermannová and Marie-Sára Štochlová.
Kusti Nõlvak and Mart Tiisaar frustrated a lot of their opponents this week with some out of this world plays. Defender Nõlvak was as creative as can be with his overhand placed balls. Tiisaar was a tower of confidence, even after hip surgery kept him off the sand for three months and this being his first tournament.
The final match was full of out-of-this-world plays, a pancake dig from Tiisaar might be the pinnacle of excellence. The Estonians won in royal style, beating Chilean youngsters Noe Aravena and Vicente Droguett (who came from qualification on Thursday) and 2021 Kings of Doha Ahmed Tijan and Cherif Younousse from Qatar.
- Brandie Wilkerson & Melissa Humana-Paredes (CAN)
- Larissa Franca Maestrini & Liliane Maestrini (BRA)
- Barbora Hermannová & Marie-Sára Štochlová (CZE)
Longest stay (13) Larissa Franca Maestrini & Liliane Maestrini (BRA)
- Kusti Nõlvak & Mart Tiisaar (EST)
- Noe Aravena & Vicente Droguett (CHI)
- Ahmed Tijan & Cherif Younousse (QAT)
Longest stay (8) Noe Aravena & Vicente Droguett (CHI)
Crown Series 2023
During the tournament organizer Sportworx announced the 2023 Crown Series. After Miami Beach the tour will visit major cities and beach volleyball loving countries in Europe, South America and the Middle East. Check out the stops below:
- May 25-28: Hamburg, Germany
- September 4-10: The Royal Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
- November: Brazil
- December 13-16: the Crown Series Finals in Aspire Zone Doha, Qatar.
Vodafone Queen & King of the Court in Miami Beach was organized in cooperation with City of Miami Beach, Florida Sports Foundation, and the AVP. The tournament was held during the second week of Miami Beach Live, the month of March where sports, fun and fitness are central. The event also coincided with Spring Break, which resulted in full stands and a great atmosphere.