Brasília, Brazil, April 19, 2012—Paced by five teams from the host country, eight beach volleyball tandems from four countries posted unbeaten records Thursday during the opening men’s main draw rounds as the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour continues at the US$380,000 Brasília Open in the capital of Brazil. The other undefeated teams after Thursday’s action are duos from Germany, Spain and the United States.
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.
Undefeated with two victories each on Thursday heading into Friday’s second day of main draw competition are all five teams from Brazil: second-seeded Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego, third-seeded Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos, sixth-seeded Marcio Araujo/Pedro Salgado, 16th-seeded Moises Santos/Vitor Felipe and 25th-seeded Evandro Goncalves/Harley Marques.
The other unbeaten teams so far in the double-elimination 32-team main draw are Germany’s seventh-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik, Spain’s fifth-seeded Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera and USA’s fourth-seeded Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena.
Brazil’s Felipe/Santos, playing in their first FIVB SWATCH World Tour event together, started the tournament by winning a country quota match Tuesday and then two qualification tournament matches on Wednesday. They recorded two very impressive wins on Thursday. First, they stopped Switzerland’s 17th-ranked Martin Laciga/Jonas Weingart, 21-17, 21-16 in 40 minutes. In their afternoon match in front of a very enthusiastic center court crowd, they came from behind to upset USA’s top-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers, 18-21, 21-18 and 15-9 in 56 minutes.
“It has been my dream to play against Dalhausser and Rogers,” said a very happy Felipe, the third-youngest men’s player in this tournament (21 years, one month and nine days) who has already in his career earned two silver medals and a bronze in the FIVB SWATCH Junior World Championships for players under 21 years old. “I used to watch them on TV and was impressed with their game. Both of us, Moises and I, entered to play for fun and give our best effort against them. And it worked. We tried to force the serve to Dalhausser, since the other teams generally go to Rogers. The sun also helped us and it was stressful for the Americans. I am very, very happy. In fact, I can’t believe it.”
Another of the highlights of a dramatic opening day of the men’s main draw was the milestone set by Brazil’s popular Marcio Araujo, a two-time Olympian and silver medalist in Beijing in 2008, who became one of only five players to achieve the 1,500 all-time match victory list. Earning his wins through 149 career FIVB events, two Olympic Games and the Brazilian domestic national tour, Araujo joins the elite group of compatriots Emanuel Rego, Ricardo Santos and Americans Karch Kiraly and Sinjin Smith.
Playing this year with Pedro Salgado, in their second match of the day, the Brazilian’s came from behind to defeat Poland’s 22nd-seeded Michael Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz, 19-21, 21-16 and 15-12 in 53 minutes to give Araujo another place in the history of the sport. Araujo/Salgado started play Friday by beating USA’s 27th-seeded Bradley Keenan/John Mayer, 21-14, 21-14 in 35 minutes.
After his latest victory, Araujo reflected, “It’s a great feeling and I have no words to truly express it. Reaching the mark of 1,500 victories where only four other athletes in beach volleyball have passed this number of wins. It is sensational and I hope I can keep this winning streak going here in Brasilia and reach the final match which is our goal.”
Brazil’s reigning FIVB SWATCH World Tour and FIVB SWATCH World champions, Alison/Emanuel cruised through their two matches in two sets each, defeating teams from Denmark and France.
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 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 tournament is 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.