Shanghai, China, May 5, 2012 – Marcio Araujo and Pedro had to dig deep to find their best form and beat compatriots Emanuel and Alison in the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Grand Slam presented by Jinshan Xinchen.
The fifth seeds started in confident mood and edged both sets to beat the second seeds 21-19, 23-21.
“It was a tough match,” Marcio said. “You have to concentrate all the time, on all the balls. I think we stuck together on the court and we recovered well if we made a mistake, and that made the difference between us. [Beating Emanuel and Alison in straight sets] is not easy and hardly ever happens. They are a great team and were expected to go through.”
In the semifinals, the Brazilian pair will take on USA’s Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb, who defeated Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira 20-22, 21-19, 15-12. It means the Americans remain on course to repeat – or better – their silver-medal performance from 2011.
If Marcio and Pedro win that match they could meet up with another Brazilian side in Benjamin and Bruno, yet another team who would hold few secrets for the duo.
“We play each other many times through the year and we know what the other Brazilians can do,” Marcio commented. “As such, it is difficult to play well.”
Brazil v USA
Marcio and Pedro’s semifinal with Gibb and Rosenthal is one of two Brazil v USA semifinals. In the other, 2011 gold medallists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser will take on Benjamin and Bruno, who have made it through to the last four from the country quota and qualifying rounds.
Dalhausser and Rogers also had to knock out compatriots to make it to the semifinals. They beat Matthew Fuerbringer and Nicholas Lucena 21-18, 21-19 and are looking ahead to the semifinals with confidence.
“We have gotten better as the tournament has gone on,” Rogers said. “There are certain people who I don’t want to play on tour, not because I fear them, but because they’re my friends and I want to see them in the finals. I’m not going to let them win, but I want to see them do well.”
With both teams knowing so much about each other, it made for an entertaining and closely fought contest, but there was relief from the defending gold medallists that they were able to conserve some energy by not having to play a third set.
“It means we have to work harder because they know our game,” Dalhausser added. “There were a lot of rallies and we had to run around like crazy. We looked at the draw last night and saw that it was a pretty tough draw and it is good to get through the day unscathed.”
The 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour is scheduled over a seven-month period and features 12 tournaments for both men and women. For the men, the season starts in April in Brazil and ends in October in Morocco.
The $600,000 Shanghai Grand Slam is the second of nine double gender events and the winning pair share a $43,500 purse.
It is the ninth straight year in which Shanghai has hosted an FIVB SWATCH World Tour event.
Following the completion of the Shanghai Grand Slam, the World Tour moves on to China’s capital for the Beijing Grand Slam from 8-13 May.