Gstaad, Switzerland, July 28, 2007 - For only the second-time in six men’s SWATCH-FIVB World Championships, four different countries will vie for a the gold medal after winning two matches each here Saturday in the US$1-million “Beach Bash” in the Swiss Alps.
Australia, Brazil, Russia and the United States earned tickets to the “final four” of the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships powered by 1to1 energy, including 2003 world champions and reigning Olympic gold medal winners Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos from the South American country. Play in the sixth annual world championships ends Sunday when the final two teams compete for the $60,000 first-place prize.
Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers will challenge Emanuel and Ricardo for a spot in Sunday’s finale as the Americans also defeated a team from Austria before advancing to “final four” with a 21-19 and 22-20 win in 55 minutes over Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu, one of two teams from China in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Australia and Russia’s first “final four” teams at the SWATCH-FIVB World Championships will face each other in Saturday’s first semi-final. Australian 2004 Olympians Andrew Schacht and Joshua Slack will challenge the SWATCH tour’s newest sensation Igor Kolodinsky and his veteran FIVB partner Dmitri Barsouk.
The 2001 world finals in Austria featured teams from Argentina, Brazil, Norway and the United States. In addition, this week’s event is also the 37th-time in 2001 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events that four different countries make up an international Beach Volleyball “final four”.
While Brazil and the United States have now advanced nine and five teams, respectively, to the semi-finals at six SWATCH-FIVB World Championships since 1997, Australia and Russia will be competing for the first-time for the second-most prestigious gold medal in Beach Volleyball Sunday morning and afternoon.
Emanuel and Ricardo, who placed 17th in the 2005 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships in Berlin after being upset by teams from the Netherlands and Norway, advanced to the “final four” with a 23-21 and 21-12 win in 42 minutes over Kristjan Kais and Rivo Vesik of Estonia. The Brazilians opened play Saturday with a 21-16 and 21-16 win over Florian Gosch and Alexander Horst of Austria in 42 minutes
“Obviously, we have a lot more incentive this year for the world championships after not playing well in Berlin,” said the 34-year old Emanuel, who will be seeking his third SWATCH-FIVB World Championships gold medal after winning in 1999 with Jose Loiola in Marseille, France. “We played poorly in defense of our 2003 world title, so we are motivated this year. It will not be easy since there are three other teams just as motivated as us.“
Dalhausser, who was born in Switzerland before moving to the United States at a young age with his parents, and Rogers started play Saturday with a 21-13 and 21-15 win in 36 minutes over Clemens Doppler and Peter Gartmayer of Austria. The Americans will be facing Emanuel and Ricardo for the sixth time with their only win over the Brazilians being in the finals of last August’s grand slam stop in Austria.
Schacht and Slack, who lost a gold medal final earlier this month in Canada to Emanuel and Ricardo, posted wins over David Klemperer/Eric Koreng of Germany (21-23, 21-18 and 15-11 in 68 minutes) and Shun Zhou/Jian Li of China (21-19 and 21-16 in 42 minutes) Saturday. The Aussies have played Barsouk and Kolodinsky once before with the Russians winning the bronze medal match earlier this season in Croatia.
Kolodinsky, nicknamed by Emanuel as the “Bazooka” due to his service game, and Barsouk advanced to the semi-finals by defeating Bram Ronnes and Emiel Boersma of the Netherlands 21-16 and 21-16 in 37 minutes and Americans Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal 21-19 and 21-17 in 45 minutes.
The eighth of 13 double gender stops on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the women’s 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships ended Saturday with reigning Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States defeating Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China 21-16 and 21-10 for their third-straight world title.