Aland, Finland, August 20, 2011 — Fifth seeds Marcio Araujo and Benjamin Insfran pulled off a major shock to knock 2011 FIVB Swatch world champions and second seeds Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti out of the $380,000 Paf Open.
Marcio will play against Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers in the men's final for the second time after losing to them in 2010, but this time he will be partnered by Benjamin
The pair rolled back their combined 76 years to win 21-18, 21-15. They will meet 2010 Paf Open gold medallists and number one seeds Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser in the final. The US duo defeated Poland’s third seed side, Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek 21-19, 18-21, 15-12.
“I’m not old, I’m experienced,” Marcio said. “I am very happy. It was a good match. We lost yesterday and now we are in the final.
“We will try to play well and enjoy the game. The American team is strong but we hope that we can beat them.”
It was the first time that Emanuel and Alison dropped a set in the tournament. After staying in contention in the first, Benjamin and Marcio’s movement in the second stopped any hopes of a comeback.
“I didn’t bring my game with me today,” Emanuel said. “These things happen though, especially at the end of the season. That said tomorrow is another day, another game and I will be ready for the match.”
The Paf Open final will be the first time Marcio and Benjamin participate in a final as a pair. They only teamed up following the Moscow Grand Slam in July and finished ninth at both the Mazury Open Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki and the A1 Grand Slam powered by Volksbank.
They needed to go through the contender’s bracket after losing to Rogers and Dalhausser in round four. The double elimination system used at the Paf Open means losing teams have a second chance to progress after their first loss.
“We will try to play our best,” Marcio said. “They (Rogers and Dalhausser) are a good team, a strong team. We have to find some way to beat them. We need to try and play relaxed, with no pressure and a smile. Everything is possible tomorrow.”
Rogers and Dalhausser have the chance to make it two gold medals from two Paf Open tournaments following their defeat of Prudel and Fijalek.
After a solid first set in which they appeared in control, the Polish side raised their aggression and fought back to take the second. In the third set the sides pushed each other hard before Dalhausser’s work at the net put the Americans in control of the match.
“They are a good team and are getting better and better,” Rogers said. “They are a team we have been watching regularly and you can see them getting better and better.”
A year ago Rogers and Dalhausser beat Marcio in the final, though at the time he was playing with Ricardo Santos.
“We always think our chances are very good,” Dalhausser said. “It just depends on how well we play. We played against a good team and they played well today. We just pulled it out there.”
Fijalek and Prudel now have the chance to finish on the podium for the third time in 2011, after second place finishes at the Conoco Philips Grand Slam in Stavanger and the Mazury Open Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki.
“We had some problems today and there was a big question if we were able to play at all,” Fijalek said. “We both have minor injuries, but this was a good experience for us.
"We are very happy about reaching the semifinal. We are still young and hope that we can improve our game. We will try our best tomorrow in the bronze game and hope for the best.”
The Paf Open 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.