Paris, France, June 20, 2008 - It took wins in their final pool play matches for the top two-seeded men's teams in the US$600,000 Henkel Grand Chelem to protect their ranking order for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour events while six other Beach Volleyball pairs claimed their group title here Friday.
Being played on the sand courts at the Champs de Mars within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower, top-seeded and defending Henkel Grand Chelem champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil and second-seeded Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann of Germany rebounded from setbacks Thursday to capture Pool J and Pool K, respectively.
With a 21-16 and 21-15 win in 42 minutes over 16th-seeded Mischa Urbatzka and Jonas Reckermann of Germany, Emanuel and Ricardo captured Pool J with a 2-1 record. Despite tying in the pool with 32nd-seeded Serguei Prokopiev and Yaroslav Koshkarev, Emanuel and Ricardo earned a "bye" in the first round of the Henkel Grand Chelem bracket by defeating rhe Russians Wednesday 21-17, 16-21 and 15-11.
Brink and Dieckmann overcame a Wednesday setback to 31st-seeded Martins Plavins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs of Latvia (20-22, 21-12 and 18-16) to win their next two matches over teams from the United States and Estonia to win Pool K. With 15th-seeded Stein Metzger/Mark Williams of the United States and the Latvians also posting 2-1 pool marks, the Germans had the edge due to a better set ratio.
Other tandems protecting their seeds by winning their groups Thursday to earn a first-round "bye" in the 24-team single-elimination bracket were third-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers of the United States (Pool L), fourth-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil of the Netherlands (Pool M), seventh-seeded Harley Marques/Pedro Salgado of Brazil (Pool P). Each team had 3-0 pool play marks.
Teams upsetting the seed order to earn first-round "byes" after posting 3-0 pool match marks were 12th-seeded Matt Fuerbringer/Casey Jennings of the United States (Pool D), 22nd-seeded Sascha Heyer/Patrick Heuscher of Switzerland (Pool O) and 24th-seeded Renato "Geor" Gomes/Jorge "Gia" Terceiro of Georgia (Pool Q).
While Heyer and Heuscher qualified for this week's Henkel Grand Chelem Main Draw with a win Wednesday, Gomes and Terceiro were competing in the "money" rounds after winning a "Lucky Loser" draw Wednesday night over a team from Argentina after the late withdrawal of Australians Andrew Schacht and Joshua Slack due to injuries. The Georgians won all three of their pool-play matches, including a victory over eighth-seeded Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal of the United States (21-17, 14-21 and 15-13).
The Henkel Grand Chelem also features women's play where eighh matches will be played Friday to determine the "elite eight" teams. The semi-finals for both genders are being played Saturday with the medal matches Sunday. Each gold-medal team will share the $43,500 first-place prizes for the second of six SWATCH FIVB World Tour Grand Slam events in 2008.