How loaded is the field for the AVP Chicago Gold Series?
Our new favorite rivalry, April Ross and Alix Klineman vs. Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes could be held on Friday if both teams win their first match of the day.
The winner carves out a nice path to the finals, the loser will have to deal with three days in the contender’s bracket in order to work back to Sunday’s championship match on Oak Street Beach.
On Friday and Saturday, competition will also be held at North Avenue Beach, just up Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s Gold Coast.
It can be done, as Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb proved in Austin. And Trevor Crabb and Reid Priddy had to win their final five matches to capture the Gold Series Manhattan Beach Open two weeks ago.
Gibb and Crabb are the defending Chicago champions.
Another potential second-round match could be played between Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil against Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman, two teams who are running neck-and-neck in the race to become one of the two USA teams competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Third-seeded Sara Hughes and Brandie Wilkerson, who reached the semifinals two weeks ago in Manhattan Open, will play together before parting ways to compete with different partners for next week’s World Tour Finals in Rome.
Ross and Klineman, trying to win their second consecutive Chicago event, continue to be the top seeds, with Emily Day and Betsi Flint (Hawaii champs) No. 2.
In the top half of the men’s bracket, potential stories loom. Veterans John Hyden and Theo Brunner had to fight their out of the qualifiers, and if they defeat Mark Burik and Piotr Marciniak in their first Main Draw match, they’ll get at top-seeded Casey Patterson and Chase Budinger.
Or perhaps Ty Loomis and Ricardo Santos can get past their first match and meet up with eighth-seeded Stafford Slick and Billy Allen.
And can Eric Beranek and Bill Kolinske keep the form that took them to the Manhattan semifinals in only their second tournament together?
This is the final chance for players who have not already paved their way to reach the Hawaii Open. The winners from Huntington Beach, Austin, Seattle and Hermosa Beach have punched their tickets, and Gold Series point totals will determine six more spots in the Main Draw.
To see the full main draw bracket, click here.