Acapulco, Mexico, October 26, 2006 - It was another day of hot and muggy conditions here Thursday on the Playa Tamarindos for the US$400,000 Corona Open as teams from Brazil and the United States earned “final four” berths in the men’s season-ending SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event.
For the second-straight SWATCH stop, fourth-seeded Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal upset a top-ranked team from Brazil for a spot in an international Beach Volleyball semi-final as the Americans posted a 15-21, 23-21 and 20-18 win in 76 minutes over top-seeded Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes.
It was Gibb and Rosenthal’s first win over the reigning SWATCH-FIVB World champions this season as Marcio Araujo and Fabio had defeated the Americans twice in July’s Grand Slam stop in Paris, including a convincing 21-11 and 21-17 gold medal victory.
Gibb and Rosenthal will be competing in their third SWATCH “final four” this season after dropping the gold medal at last month’s Brazilian stop in Vitoria where they lost to Germany’s Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann.
Second-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos, who clinched their fourth-straight SWATCH-FIVB World Tour point’s title last month on their home country sand in Vitoria, scored a win over sixth-seeded Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu of China in the fifth meeting between the two teams this season. After the Brazilians won the first set, Wu and Xu were leading 13-11 in the second set before retiring from the match due to injury.
By gaining their 14th-straight “final four” appearance this season, Emanuel and Ricardo have now won all five matches this season from the Chinese, including a semi-final victory in August’s Poland stop where Wu and Xu claimed China’s first-ever men’s SWATCH medal on the FIVB tour.
The reigning Olympic champions, Emanuel and Ricardo are the defending Corona Open champions with 10-straight wins on the Acapulco Bay sand courts. In an All-Brazilian finale, Emanuel and Ricardo defeated Pedro Cunha and Franco Neto for the 2005 gold medal.
Eight other teams remain in the double-elimination event with one defeat along with Marcio Araujo/Fabio and Wu/Xu. With temperatures in the 90s for the fourth-straight day of competition, the 20 matches Thursday averaged over 57 minutes with eight being decided in the third set as the men’s international Beach Volleyball circuit concludes its 20th-season of competition on the Playa Tamarindos courts.
With the Chinese in the upper half of the bracket with Gibb and Rosenthal, the teams of 11th-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil of the Netherlands, 17th-seeded Jorre Kjemperud/Tarjei Skarlund of Norway, 21st-seeded Ahren Cadieux/Mark Heese of Canada and 24th-seeded Pedro Rosas/Jose Pedrosa of Portugal will be competing for a semi-final-qualifying berth opposite of Wu and Xu.
Marcio Araujo and Fabio are now in Emanuel and Ricardo’s side of the draw along with the teams of third-seeded Franco Neto/Pedro Cunha of Brazil, fifth-seeded Todd Rogers/Phil Dalhausser of the United States, 16th-seeded Alison Conte Cerutti/Harley Marques of Brazil and 26th-seeded Riccardo Fenili/Andrea Tomatis of Italy.
The 10th of 10 double gender events on the 2006 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour calendar, the Corona Open concludes Saturday for men and Sunday for women. The gold medal teams in each gender will share the $32,000 first-place prizes. The women’s SWATCH calendar ends next week in Phuket, Thailand.