Brasília, Brazil, April 21, 2011—Following two more wins each to remain undefeated at the Brasília Open, USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers and China’s Penggen Wu/Linyin Xu Thursday became the first men’s teams to advance to Friday’s semifinals as Brazil’s capital city. Six other teams remaining with one loss each in the 32-team, double-elimination tournament will play the final two elimination rounds tomorrow morning before the late afternoon semifinals against the American and Chinese teams at the season-opening event on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour calendar.
Top-seeded Dalhausser/Rogers are the reigning Olympic champions who won nine gold medals on last year’s FIVB Swatch World Tour and are playing in their 38th event together on the international circuit and have made it to their 30th final four. Tenth-seeded Wu/Xu won two gold medals last season, are playing in their 55th event together on the FIVB Swatch World Tour and have made it to their 14th final four.
The US$380,000 Brasília Open features both men’s and women’s competition in Brazil’s capital. Nearly 140 teams from 35 countries are part of the season-opening event of the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour begins here for the third straight season. The women’s medal matches will be played Friday followed by the men’s medal matches Saturday. The winning teams in each gender will share $30,000 first-place prizes.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011, the international beach volleyball circuit is starting with the US$380,000 Brasília Open for the third consecutive season. Competition will continue through Saturday on The Esplanada dos Ministérios in Quadrante 1. Friday’s men’s schedule will start with the remaining four matches from the contender’s bracket to determine the final two teams who will meet the Americans and the Chinese in Friday afternoon’s semifinals. The women’s medal matches will be played Friday morning.
USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers, the defending event and FIVB Swatch World Tour season champions, had to come from behind and were extended to three sets in both of their Thursday victories as they set a new FIVB men’s record with 27 straight FIVB Swatch World Tour match wins.
The American’s opened play Thursday by defeating Spain’s ninth-seeded Adrian Gavira Collado/Pablo Herrera, 13-21, 21-17, and 15-7 in 53 minutes. In the afternoon, the match was a re-match from last year’s gold medal battle as they defeated Brazil’s fifth-seeded Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego, 16-21, 21-19 and 15-11 in another 53-minute match. Dalhausser/Roger now have a 7-1 lifetime record against Alison/Emanuel.
Dalhausser commented following his team’s matches, “After the first set I wasn’t sure we would win because Emanuel and Alison were playing very good. If I had to use only one word to describe the match, it would be tough. The weather in Brasilia is much different from Southern California where we live and train, mainly with the high humidity, but we must adapt ourselves quickly to all conditions around the world. We felt Alison was a little tired in the third set so we focused on serving him. Fortunately, it was the right decision.””
The Chinese team had two tough matches as well to earn their spot in the semifinals. First they defeated reigning 2009 FIVB Swatch World Champions (Stavanger, Norway) and fifth-seeded Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann of Germany 26-24, 21-18 in 49 minutes. In their late afternoon match, they needed three sets to beat Brazil’s third-seeded Ricardo Santos/Marcio Araujo, 21-17, 14-21 and 15-9 in another 49-minute match. The Chinese now have a 2-1 career record against the Brazilians.
“We spent three weeks training in the United States and it helped us a lot,” said Xu after his team’s last match of the day. “We improved our receiving and setting, skills that made the difference today. We like to play here in Brazil mainly because of the fans. They love and understand the sport. They cheers and scream with more passion than in China, for example. But, on the other hand, the weather is very hard on us. To reach the semifinals in the first event of the year helps us to become more confident to keep moving forward in this Olympic qualifying season.
Besides the undefeated Dalhausser/Rogers and Wu/Xu, the four teams still alive in this tournament with one loss each are Brink/Reckermann, USA’s fourth-seeded Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena, Brazil’s 11th-seeded Benjamin Insfran/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Italy’s 28th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai. Benjamin/Schmidt first had to win a Country Quota Match and then two matches in the Qualification Tournament before event advancing to the Main Draw.
Brazil has staged a FIVB Swatch World Tour event every year since the start of the international series for men in 1987 and women in 1992. This is the 33rd men’s event and 28th women’s tournament on the FIVB Swatch World Tour held in Brazil. This is also the 13th time Brazil has been the site of a season-opening event on the international circuit.