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Swedish young guns and a Spanish-Italian tandem crowned as Kings and Queens of Utrecht

Utrecht, the Netherlands | King of the Court Utrecht 2021 has celebrated its new Queens and Kings. The duo for the occasion, Spain’s Maria Belén Carro and Italy’s Marta Menegatti had a perfect run and won the crown. 19-year-olds David Åhman and Jonatan Hellvig from Sweden showed their potential and wowed the crowd with their samba style plays. They are Kings of Utrecht.

Next to the three teams on the podium there were prizes for the longest stay on the King’s and Queen’s side for the tournament. Netherlands’ Katja Stam and Raïsa Schoon reached a total of ten points in one visit to the Queen’s side. For Åhman and Hellvig the fun wasn’t done yet, they scored a run of twelve points in the final and also received the prize for the longest stay, which were Maurice Lacroix watches.

The men’s final was befitting the atmosphere in the gladiator’s pit. Five team put on quite a show with exciting plays flying left and right. In the first round the Poniewaz twins from Germany were unable to get a single point on the board, but to them playing Utrecht and reaching the final was a big bonus after their bronze medal in Hamburg last week.

The surprise in the final was the Swedish team of David Åhman and Jonatan Hellvig, who reached the final by winning the playoff for the last spot. With their jump sets and run around attacks they drove the opposition into madness at times. The victims in the second round were Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins. After elimination Lion King Samoilovs took the microphone and thanked everyone in sight, to the amusement of interviewer Julius Brink, who let him have the stage.

The show wasn’t over yet. In the final round the Swedish teenagers pulled out all the stops and ran to fourteen points in just 7 minutes, with Belgians Tom van Walle and Dries Koekelkoren following with five. Last year’s King Marco Krattiger and his partner Moritz Pristauz were on zero at that time. Then, the most incredible seven minutes of beach volleyball occurred. On three occasion Van Walle hit an ace on Sweden’s matchpoint. The Belgians, who played their final tournament in their careers, reached eight points.

But Krattiger and Pristauz suddenly found their rhythm and also got to eight points, with a longer stay at the King’s side. That meant they were the silver medalists, because the time ran out before either of the teams could catch up Åhman and Hellvig. The Swedes received a cheque for 12,500 US Dollars and two Maurice Lacroix watches.

The women’s final was played between five totally different teams. The spectacularly playing Canadian twins Megan and Nicole McNamara, the newly formed team of Spain’s Maria Belén Carro and Italy’s Marta Menegatti, the enthusiastic Japanese Yukako Suzuki and Miki Ishii, Brazilian samba players Barbara Seixas and Carolina Solberg and last but not least, the duo for the occasion; Sanne Keizer and Mexime van Driel of the Netherlands in their home stadium.

The first round the packed corona-proof stadium on the Jaarbeursplein had to say goodbye to the Japanese couple. The battle was on from the first serve of the second round, where Brazil built a comfortable lead. The battle was close between the McNamara’s, Menegatti / Carro and Keizer / Van Driel. With a run of points for the mixed nations team they put the Dutch in the danger zone, where they couldn’t escape from. Keizer and Van Driel ended the tournament in fourth.

The all-deciding round, the podium was set, but who would step on top to be crowned? Brazil started on the Queen’s side and managed to score two before being replaced by the twins. In three visits to the scoring side of the court Barbara and Carolina put eight points on the board, leading halfway, with Canada on 2 and Menegatti / Carro on 3.

Three minutes later the table was turned after Menegatti and Carro had a run of six points. Barbara and Carolina leveled on nine, but the fight was on. The two teams went head-to-head, point by point, visit by visit. Ace on 1.12 for Menegatti / Carro proved to be the decider, they went to fourteen points which made them Queens of Utrecht! Barbara and Carolina got stuck on 11, as the McNamaras were on 2.

Four days in Utrecht
After 26 matches King of the Court Utrecht 2021 was over on Saturday night. It once again was a spectacle for young and old. A total of $ 54,000 in prize money was awarded and eight Maurice Lacroix watches presented. Over twenty-five hours of live television were broadcast all around the world. And more that 6,000 spectators visited the corona-proof stadium on the Jaarbeursplein in Utrecht. See you all next year!