Gstaad, Switzerland, July 27, 2007 - After a “successful” start win winning a pair of pools during the preliminary competition, Switzerland’s hopes for a third medal in the SWATCH-FIVB World Championships faded away here Friday as all three teams from the host country dropped opening elimination matches.
Teams from Germany, the Netherlands and Spain “spoiled” the pending Beach Volleyball hopes for Switzerland in advancing with 13 other teams to Saturday’s two elimination rounds in the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships powered by 1to1 energy.
The fourth of six days of competition in this Alps village ended when 24th-seeded Pablo Herrera and Raul Mesa ended the Swiss medal chances with a come-from-behind 24-22, 19-21 and 15-12 win in 73 minutes over seventh-seeded Sascha Heyer and Patrick Heuscher.
“We just changed our tactics,” said the 25-year old Mesa when asked about his team’s time out when trailing 10-6 in the third and deciding set. “Instead of Pablo doing all the block and defense at the net, we switched with me alternating with him. It worked as we were able to score five-straight points to take an 11-10 lead. It didn’t look good for us when the Swiss led 12-11, but we were the aggressors at the end of the match.”
Herrera, a silver medalist at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with Javier Bosma, and Mesa are seeking their second gold medal at a SWATCH-FIVB World Championships. The first was for players under the age of 21 in 2002. “Obviously, Pablo had a better day with his silver medal in Athens,” Mesa added. “This was a big win today, but hopefully, there will be more success this weekend.”
The Heyer-Heuscher defeat followed a 21-18 and 21-17 setback by the 13th-seeded Laciga brothers (Martin and Paul) of Switzerland to 28th-seeded Bram Ronnes and Emiel Boersma of the Netherlands. The 17th-seeded German team of Eric Koreng and David Klemperer started the Swiss demise Friday with a 21-14 and 21-19 victory over Jan Schnider and Marcel Gscheidle.
Only nine of the top 16-seeded teams reached Saturday’s “sweet 16” round, including the top-ranked teams from Brazil Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos, Pedro Cunha/Franco Neto and Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes.
While Emanuel and Ricardo are the reigning Olympic champions, Marcio Araujo and Fabio are the defending SWATCH-FIVB World Champions after winning the title in 2005 at Berlin. Both teams have won three SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events each this season while Cunha and Franco captured last week’s stop in Marseille.
Other top ranked teams advancing were fourth-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers of the United States, ninth-seeded Penggen Wu/Linyin Xu of China, 12th-seeded Mariano Baracetti/Martin Conde of Argentina, 14th-seeded Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal of the United States and 16th-seeded Andrew Schacht/Josh Slack of Australia.
The eighth of 13 double gender stops on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships conclude Saturday with the women’s “final four” matches and Sunday with the men’s semi-finals and medal matches. The winning teams shared the $60,000 first-place prizes for the season’s biggest one-event purse.
The 11th qualifying event for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships produce the most points for the Summer Games as the process continues through July 20, 2008. In addition to the prize money, the winning teams claim 1,000 points as compared to 600 for an “open” event and 800 for a “grand slam” stop.