Palmer and Bell lift game to new level to take Qld Open

Having already established themselves as the team to beat on the Australian Beach Volleyball tour this summer, 2012 Olympian Becchara Palmer and 20 year-old Queenslander, Phoebe Bell, took their play up a level to win the Queensland Open on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

Palmer and Bell, who won the South Australian Open earlier this month, were ruthless in the final, seeing off the hard working European pair of Michaela Vorlova and Lucia Michalovicova, 21-15 21-12.

And the European flavour continued in the men’s draw as well, with the Dutch pairing of Bart Bolsterlee and Sven Vismans too strong for Ondrej Hromadko, of the Czech Republic, and Australia’s Ivan Reka, 21-16, 21-11.

The win brings up consecutive Australian tour titles for Bolsterlee, who teamed up with Western Australia’s Casey Grice to win this month’s SA Open.

There were surprise results in both the women’s and the men’s draw, with Rio Olympians Nicole Laird and Louise Bawden losing their semi-final to Vorlova and Michalovicova, while Australia’ top men’s pair of the summer so far, Cole Durant and Zachery Schubert, lost their quarter final to your guns Marcus Ferguson and Paul Burnett.

Laird and Bawden, who both played with different partners in Rio, have played two tournaments together since Bawden’s Olympic partner, Taliqua Clancy, was forced onto the sidelines with a minor injury.

Bell, who last weekend won the Australian U23 title alongside fellow Queenslander, Jessyka Ngauamo, has recently joined Palmer at the Volleyball Australia Centre of Excellence in Adelaide.

Vismans, who turns 29 later this week, was able to rely on local knowledge from his Dutch partner. Bolsterlee has been a regular player on the Australian tour in recent summers.

The Australian tour heads across the Nullarbor to Perth’s Scarborough Beach for next weekend’s WA Open.