Brasília, Brazil, April 20, 2012—Following two more wins each to remain undefeated at the US$380,000 Brasília Open, Brazil’s Ricardo Santos/Pedro Cunha and Spain’s Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera Friday became the first men’s teams to advance to Saturday’s semifinals in Brazil’s capital city. Six other teams remaining with one loss each in the 32-team, double-elimination tournament will play the final two elimination rounds tomorrow morning before the late afternoon semifinals against the Brazilian and Spanish teams. This is the season-opening event of the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour.
Brazil’s third-seeded Ricardo/Cunha, both veterans are only playing in this sixth FIVB SWATCH World Tour event together and have made it to their third final four as they join the rest of the field in the quest for a spot in the 2012 London Olympic Games. In total, Ricardo has played in 177 FIVB tournaments with 53 gold medals while Cunha has played in 87 tournaments overall with eighth gold medals, including two since forming the partnership with Ricardo.
Spain’s Gavira/Herrera are playing in their 33rd world tour event as a team and they now have 11 final four appearances but are still striving for their first FIVB gold medal. This is the second event back for the team as Herrera injured his knee last July in the grand slam in Gstaad, Switzerland and returned for the last event of the season where the team had a fifth place finish. In two previous tournaments here, they finished ninth both in 2010 and last year.
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.
Brazil’s Ricardo/Cunha were playing strong as a team as their results indicated Friday, winning both matches in two fairly quick sets, send two teams to the contender’s rounds. They started their day by defeating sixth-seeded compatriots Marcio Araujo/Pedro Salgado, 21-14, 21-11 in 35 minutes and then topped Germany’s seventh-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik, 21-19, 21-11 in 39 minutes before an appreciative center court crowd.
Spain’s Gavira/Herrera battled through a pair of tough matches to remain unbeaten, first defeating USA’s fourth-seeded Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena, 21-19, 22-20 in 43 minutes and completing their day by winning over Brazil’s 25th-seeded Evandro Goncalves/Harley Marques in three sets, 19-21, 21-16 and 15-11 in 52 minutes.
“I expected a difficult match against the Germans because they had just come off of a victory against Alison/Emanuel and were very fired up,” said the veteran Ricardo. “We played hard right from the start of the first set, opened up an advantage and all of our skills in the sand worked well. Now we have to prepare for another day of battle tomorrow.”
Returning from serious injury Herrera is very pleased with his team’s play so far, saying, “I am delighted with the two victories in today’s rounds. Last year I suffered two knee injuries that put us out of action for a few months. We had a strong and exhausting pre-season. Now we’re receiving the rewards of our dedication. It’s even harder to play against Brazilian teams because the fans are so strong in encouraging their teams.”
Besides Germany’s Erdmann/Matysik and Brazil’s Goncalves/Marques, the four other teams still alive in Brazil with one loss each are USA’s top-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers, Brazil’s second-seeded reigning FIVB SWATCH World Tour and FIVB SWATCH World Champions Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego, USA’s Fuerbringer/Lucena and Brazil’s 16th-seeded Vitor Felipe/Moises Santos. Battling for a spot in the Olympics Fuerbringer/Lucena stayed alive in Brazil by coming from behind to eliminate 10th-seeded compatriots Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal, 13-21, 21-19 and 16-14 in 56 minutes. In a repeat of the last two gold medal matches in Brazil, Dalhausser/Rogers and Alison/Emanuel will meet again. Both teams were extended to three sets in the final contender’s match of the day and the Americans needed 58 minutes to beat Brazil’s Araujo/Salgado.
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 will be held 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.