Aland, Finland, August 19, 2011 — Emanuel and Alison and Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, the big two names in the men’s competition at the $380,000 Paf Open, continued on their paths towards a meeting in the gold medal match on August 21, on day five of the tournament.
Both teams are now safely into the semifinals after winning twice on day five, with Rogers and Dalhausser the only pair of the two to have lost a set so far in the competition.
FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch world champions Emanuel and Alison started their day with a 21-19, 21-17 win over Yaroslav Koshkarev and Konstantin Semenov of Russia. They then booked their place in the last four by beating Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik 27-25, 21-17.
“It was a tough match,” Emanuel said afterwards. “Today we played two teams who we are used to having big battles against. It is always tough against them and we seem to have played them a lot this year.
“They put all their trust in their serve and we worked well against that sort of team this morning and knew we would face a similar style this afternoon. We practiced our control, because that is what we needed against a team with a big service.
“The first two matches were difficult for us and it has taken us a while to get into the mood to play and to find the right aggressiveness.”
Number one seeds and 2010 gold medalists Dalhausser and Rogers beat Czech duo Petr Benes and Premysl Kubala 21-17, 21-12 before they met Brazilian fifth seeds Marcio Araujo and Benjamin Insfran.
After dropping the first set, the US pair found their rhythm to come back and win. Eventually Rogers hit the winning point to secure a 13-21, 21-13, 15-11 victory.
“The first set didn’t go to plan, but we pulled it together and pulled through,” Dalhausser said. “Three set matches build character, but a three set match is still a three set match and I’d rather have two.”
Marcio and Benjamin and Erdmann and Matysik both have another chance to progress thanks to the double elimination system that means losing teams have a second chance to progress after their first loss in the tournament.
One team that has been knocked out though is Ricardo Santos and Pedro Cunha. A day after Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai earned a surprise win against the pair, a second defeat to Janis Smedins and Martins Plavins meant the Brazilians were knocked out with a 21-14, 21-18 loss.
“It was a good game for us and I’m very happy we won,” Smedins said. “It was a little bit tough, but we served well and had good defence and that is the reason we went in front of them. We stayed five points ahead of them and that was vital to our win.
“Of course the first set was important because it shaped how we concentrated for the second set. We knew they would come back with 100 per cent and we just wanted to play our game.”
The men’s main draw at the Paf Open began on August 18, with the final on Sunday, August 21. It is the 12th stage of the 14 tournament FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, which concludes at the Morocco Open in Agadir from October 4 to 9.