Beijing, China, June 7, 2011 — Pedro Henrique Cunha and Pedro Solberg Salgado of Brazil stormed into the men’s Main Draw of the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Beijing Grand Slam with a pair of straight sets wins in the qualification tournament at the Chaoyang Park on Tuesday.
Seven other teams including two from Canada also emerged as winners from the 32-team men’s qualification tournament.
The reunited Cunha/Pedro, who finished fourth at the Prague Open two weeks ago, saw off Tim Verschueren and Audry Frankart of Belgium 21-17 and 21-16 before sweeping Italy’s Nicolai Paolo and Matteo Martino 21-14 and 21-14 in 32 minutes.
“It’s a great day I think, we played very, very well,” said Pedro, who has had a brief cooperation with Cunha in 2009. “I think it’s good for us, because we are a new team. The more matches we play, the better we will be.”
It’s the fourth event Cunha and Pedro played together this season and the top four finish at Prague obviously boosted their confidence.
“We need to improve our game and the result will follow,” said Cunha. “We played in the semi-finals last tournament and we expect to repeat that, fortunately to get into the final.”
Cunha even put his eyes on the first FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour title with his new partner. “Why not? That’s our goal. Our game is showing that we are able to do it.”
Casey Patterson and Bradley Keenan of the United States, who knocked out compatriots Casey Jennings and Kevin Wong in Monday’s country-quota play-off, had their winning momentum continued on Tuesday. After eliminating Australia’s Christopher McHugh and Joshua Slack 19-21, 21-15 and 15-7, the Americans upset Germany’s Sebastian Dollinger and Stefan Windscheif 21-15, 15-21 and 15-10 to secure their berth in the Main Draw.
Other teams advancing to the men’s Main Draw are Josh Binstock/Richard Van Huizen and Christian Redmann/Ben Saxton of Canada, Russia’s Alexey Yutvalin/Dmitri Barsouk, Stefan Gunnarsson/Hannes Brinkborg from Sweden, Sam Boehm/Isaac Kapa of Australia and Rivo Vesik/Karl Janni from Estonia.
Feature Beijing Olympic champions Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers of the Untied States, the men’s Main Draw tournament will start on Wednesday. Thirty-two teams will play a single round robin in eight groups with top three finishers from each group to advance to the 24-team knockout stage.
Dalhausser/Rogers, who were crowned three years ago at the Chaoyang Park, will seek their third title of the season following a runner-up finish two weeks ago in the Czech Republic. Having captured back-to-back championships in Brazilia and Shanghai, the American giants lost to Brazil’s Alison and Emanuel in the final of the men's single gender Prague Open.
The $600,000 Beijing Grand Slam is the first FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Grand Slam of the year with the Chinese capital welcoming back international beach volleyball for the first time since the 2008 Olympic Games.
The inaugural Beijing Grand Slam is the third of 12 double-gender events on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, which also includes three single-gender events for women, two single-gender events for men and a special 24-team Olympic test event in London August 9-14.