Beijing, China, June 8, 2011 — Four Brazilian tandems led by second seeds Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego all got off to a winning start in the men’s Main Draw of the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Beijing Grand Slam on Wednesday.
Beijing Olympic champions Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser and home medal favorites Wu Penggen/Xu Linyin also collected opening wins in the first stage round robin of the 32-team Main Draw tournament.
It took Alison/Emanuel 37 minutes to claim their first victory in Group K 25-23 and 21-18 over 31st seeds Christian Redmann and Ben Saxton of Canada.
“The first match of the tournament is always difficult to play. The sand of the Beijing Olympic Stadium is very soft and it is very hot,” Emanuel said. “It’s good to win the game, it’s a good step to improve and get used to this atmosphere in this sand in China.”
Alison/Emanuel, who snapped a nine-tournament winning streak between 2010 and 2011 for Rogers/Dalhausser to capture their first FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour title together two weeks ago in Prague, expected to continue their winning momentum.
“Our expectation is to maintain the same level of beach volleyball that we played last week. Every weekend in beach volleyball is different and it’s hard to say you can do it the same, so we will just try to maintain the same level and consistency.”
Emanuel was very happy to come back to the Beijing Olympic venue three years after winning the bronze medal with Ricardo Alex at the Chaoyang Park.
“Awesome! It’s the only word I can say. I remember everything during the Beijing Olympic Games, the fantastic atmosphere, the audience and the volunteers. The most important things I remember for the Olympic Games are the volunteers in China, they are so friendly and so hoping to do things for the players.”
Other victorious Brazilian pairs are third seeds Ricardo Alex Costa Santos/Marcio Henrique Barroso Araujo, eighth seeds Benjamin Insfran/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and 13th seeds Pedro Henrique Cunha/Pedro Solberg Salgado, who needed a pair of wins on Tuesday to make the Main Draw.
The American top seeds Rogers/Dalhausser eased past China’s 32nd seeds Li Lei/Liu Bin 21-17 and 21-18 while the sixth seeded Wu/Xu outgunned Swedish qualifiers Stefan Gunnarsson/Hannes Brinkborg 21-9 and 21-15.
“They did not play very well and we took control of the game from the start,” said Wu. “Maybe they are a little bit tired after playing two qualification matches yesterday.”
“It’s a good start for us, but I think we need to work really hard for the next games,” Xu added. “Now it’s pretty hot in Beijing and we will have to play two games tomorrow, we need to get ourselves prepared.”
Latvia’s 28th seeds Aleksandrs Samoilous and Ruslans Sorokins produced the biggest upset of the first day Main Draw action as they saw off Germany’s fifth seeds Eric Koreng and David Klemperer 24-22 and 21-14 while Poland’s 24th seeds Mariusz Prudel/Grzegorz Fijalek clinched a surprising full sets victory over ninth seeded Gao Peng and Chen Cheng from China.
Thirty-two teams are playing a single round robin in eight groups with top three finishers from each group to advance to the 24-team knockout stage. The men’s round robin will continue on Thursday with the second and third round matches.
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.