Berlin, Germany, June 11, 2008 - It appears that the "odds" are better than the "evens" in 2008 for Pedro Rosas and Jose Pedrosa on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour as the Portuguese Beach Volleyball tandem posted a pair of seed-breakthroughs here Wednesday to advance to the Main Draw for this week's US$600,000 smart Grand Slam.
Being played in front of the main train station at the Washingtonplatz, the 17th-seeded Rosas and Pedrosa have now played in seven SWATCH FIVB World Tour qualifiers this season and have now advanced to the Main Draw in their first, third, fifth and now the seventh attempt after defeating higher-seeded teams from Norway and Brazil on Wednesday.
After scoring a 21-18, 18-21 and 15-10 win in 62 minutes over 16th-seeded Kjell Goranson and Vegard Hoidalen of Norway, Rosas and Pedrosa advanced to the smart Grand Slam "money" rounds with a 19-21, 25-23 and 15-13 win in 74 minutes over top-seeded Pedro Cunha and Franco Neto of Brazil.
"This is amazing," said the 28-year old Rosas after the match. "We have been very up-and-down the past six weeks by qualifying for one event before not advancing at the next tournament.
"We played two very tough matches today against two very good teams. To qualify for this Grand Slam event is remarkable since it starts a stretch of four very important events on the FIVB tour."
The smart Grand Slam is the first of six "major" events on the 2008 SWATCH FIVB World Tour calendar. In addition to increased prize money at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Grand Slam stops, additional points will be awarded for each placement ranging from 24 points for 41st-place to 800 points for a gold-medal finish. At an "open" FIVB event, 600 points is awarded for placing first and 18 points for 41st-place.
"To defeat such a highly-regarded team like Cunha and Franco is very satisfying, especially in our first-ever SWATCH match against the Brazilians," Rosas added. "Our side out game was very good today and my partner had several big blocks at the end of the match. Our goal now is to place higher than 25th this week."
The 12th annual smart Grand Slam is the 40th SWATCH FIVB World Tour event for the Rosas/Pedrosa partnership as the Portuguese pair has failed to advance out of a qualifier 19 times in 29 events since 2005. Playing in their 11th FIVB Grand Slam event together, Rosas and Pedrosa have now advanced to the "money" rounds four times with their best placement a 17th at the 2005 Austrian stop in Klagenfurt.
With the top three seeded teams in the smart Grand Slam losing Wednesday in the single-elimination qualifier, other tandems "breaking through" were 19th-seeded Bo Soderberg/Anders Lund Hoyer of Denmark and 31st-seeded Sebastian Dollinger/Thomas Kaczmarek of Germany.
Playing in only their second SWATCH event together, the Germans eliminated second-seeded Renato "Geor" Gomes and Jorge "Gia" Terceiro of Georgia in their first match Wednesday (21-18, 16-21 and 16-14) before ousting 15th-seeded Mark Williams and Stein Metzger of United States (21-16 and 21-19). Germany will now have five teams in the smart Grand Slam men's Main Draw.
Protecting their qualifying seed to advance to Thursday's opening Main Draw schedule were fourth-seeded Ahren Cadieux/Mark Heese of Canada, fifth-seeded Martins Plavins/Aleksandrs Samoilovs of Latvia, sixth-seeded Shun Zhou/Jian Li of China, seventh-seeded Kirk Pitman/Jason Lochhead of New Zealand and eighth-seeded Yannick Salvetti/Guilherm Deulofeu of France.
The smart Grand Slam also features women's competition were 32 pool-play matches were played Wednesday. The women's competition continues through Saturday when the semi-final and medal matches will be played as the gold medal team will share the $43,500 first-place prize. Defending smart Grand Slam champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States opened with a pair of wins Thursday over teams from Austria and Russia.
The men's finale will be Sunday as Brazilians Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes are the defending smart Grand Slam champions after defeating Germany's David Klemperer and Eric Koreng in the finals. Like May-Treanor and Walsh, Marcio Araujo and Fabio also won the 2005 Berlin stop when the German capital hosted the SWATCH FIVB World Championships. Due to the soccer World Cup in 2006, Berlin did not stage a SWATCH FIVB World Tour Grand Slam event.