Brasília, Brazil, April 17, 2012—Three men’s teams from the host country Brazil and one each from Canada and the United States survived Tuesday from the country quota playoffs to advance to Wednesday’s qualification tournament as the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour continues at the US$380,000 Brasília Open in the capital of Brazil.
Earning two upset victories and playing in their first FIVB SWATCH World Tour event, leading Brazil Tuesday was Luciano Ferreira/Gilmario Ferreira while the other two advancing Brazilian teams were Vitor Felipe/Moises Santos and Roberto Pitta/Francisco Rodriquez. Also advancing to the Wednesday’s men’s qualification tournament were Canada’s Chaim Schalk/Matt Zbyszewski and USA’s Bradley Keenan/John Mayer.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first FIVB-sanctioned event (Rio de Janeiro in 1987), the international beach volleyball circuit began for the fourth consecutive season with the US$380,000 Brasília Open will be held through Sunday on The Esplanada dos Ministérios in Quadrante 1 as the Brazilian capital is celebrating its 52nd anniversary on Saturday. The tournament is the first of nine double-gender events on the 2012 schedule.
Seven Brazilian teams competed for three host country advancements positions in the country quota playoffs. Brazil already has four other teams pre-seeded into the 32-team men’s main draw which begins Thursday. Being the host nation, Brazil could qualify up to seven teams for the main draw with the final three among the eight teams who will move forward from Wednesday’s qualification tournament.
While sharing the same last name, but not related, Luciano, 26, and Gilmario, 28 defeated a pair of higher seeded teams in Havaldo Moreira/Bruno de Paula in three sets, 18-21, 21-16 and 21-19 in 51 minutes and finished the playoffs in a rainstorm, beating Alvaro Filho/Benjamin Insfran, 21-15, 24-22 in 39 minutes. In their final match, they overcame a second-set deficit of 13-19 to win the set and match to earn a spot in the qualifier.
As a team, Luciano/Gilmario are currently ninth in points on the Brazilian National Tour and they opened the season with a bronze medal finish and last week won the gold medal at a South American tour stop in Columbia.
"We almost did not sleep last night, thinking about this tournament, which is our first on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour,” said a very happy Luciano following their second upset victory of the day. “It was a battle to us. Hevaldo and Bruno (first match) are the top team in the National Tour so far and Benjamin has played the world tour for over a decade. As this is our first appearance, it is always tough until we can play how we know we can. Now we want to be less nervous during tomorrow’s qualifying tournament.”
Felipe/Moises defeated more experienced compatriots Rhooney Ferramenta/Thiago Santos Barbosa in straight sets and Pitta/Rodriguez were extended to three sets during the late afternoon thunderstorm that came through the area before eliminated fellow-Brazilians Bruno Oscar Schmidt/Joao Maciel.
Canada’s Schalk/Zbyszewski won their country quota match in three sets over Garret May/Richard Van Huizen while USA’s Bradley Keenan/John Mayer, veteran domestic players in the US who haven’t played a world tour event since 2006, moved forward to the qualification tournament by surviving another three set match, winning over compatriots Casey Jennings/William Strickland.
Brazil has staged a FIVB SWATCH World Tour event every year since the start of the international series for men in 1989 and women in 1992. This will be the 34th men’s event and 29th women’s tournament on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour held in Brazil. It is also the 14th time that the FIVB SWATCH World Tour will have its season-opening event in Brazil. This is also the fourth consecutive year the tour has come to Brasília.
The capital city of the South American country has welcomed 135 men and women’s teams from 35 countries. This event is the 272nd men’s and 233rd women’s competition in the history of the FIVB SWATCH World Tour.
The women’s main draw tournament continues Wednesday while the men’s main draw rounds start Thursday. The gold medal teams in each gender in the Brasília Open will each split $30,000, the silver $21,000, the bronze $15,000 and fourth place $11,200. The internationally-televised medal matches for women will be held Friday and for men on Sunday.
With the season-opening event on the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour calendar in Brazil, the road to the 2012 London Olympic Games has resumed as 16 of the 24 teams in each gender will be determined through year-long Olympic rankings through the FIVB SWATCH World Tour. This is one the first of nine double-gender events on the 2012 world tour schedule. Beach Volleyball at the London Olympic Games will run from July 28 to August 9.