Beijing, China, May 10, 2012 — Top seeded Beijing Olympic champions Todd Rogers and Philip Dalhausser of the United States received a big blow on the first day of men’s Main Draw at the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour Beijing Grand Slam on Thursday, losing to Latvia’s 17th seeds Alexandrs Samoilous/Ruslans Sorokins in straight sets.
Dropping their first opening pool J match against Germany’s 16th seeds Eric Koreng/David Klemperer 2-0, the Latvian duo hammered Rogers/Dalhausser 21-14 and 21-17 and sent the Americans to an 1-1 win-loss record.
“We fought till the end and it’s really great result, it’s really nice to remember this time,” said Sorokins. “Tomorrow we will have a very important game and we’ll concentrate on this game and try to do our best.”
The well-deserved victory came in the right time for Samoilous/Sorokins, who are vying for the tickets to the 2012 London Olympic Games. “We are still fighting, so it’s really important to play well in every match,” Sorokins added. “There are only five tournaments left and we are really close with four to five teams, it’s pretty difficult. We’ll try our best.”
Samoilous/Sorokins’ compatriots Martins Plavins/Janis Smedins also produced an upset as the 20th seeds beat Spain’s fourth seeds Pablo Herrera Allepuz/Adrian Gavira Collado 23-21, 21-15 in 38 minutes for their second win in a row while Germany’s 22nd seeds Julius Brink/Sebastian Fuchs worn out Brazil’s sixth seeds Marcio Henrique Araujo/Pedro Solberg Salgado 21-17, 15-21, 15-12 in 61 minutes. “They are a very good team, better than us, I don’t know why they lost,” said Plavins.
Three tandems from Brazil, namely event title-holders Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego, second seeds Ricardo Santos/Pedro Henrique Cunha and eighth seeds Benjamin Insfran/Bruno Oscar Schmidt, picked up a pair of wins to take the lead in respective groups.
Ranked fifth in the 32-team Main Draw, Alison/Emanuel held off Estonia’s 28th seeds Karl Jaani/Rivo Vesik 24-22 and 28-26 before downing 21st seeds Sascha Heyer/Sebastian Chevallier from Switzerland 21-15 and 21-18.
“It feels great to come back to Beijing. The first match was very tough against Estonia, they were more in rhythm than us, they didn’t make many mistakes, consistent and steady, while we made a lot of mistakes,” said Emanuel. “This is the part to improve and we need to learn how to play difficult matches.”
Emanuel eyed a repeat of the title-winning feat from last year, while he predicted that the contention for the gold medal would be harder.
“Definitely! But this year it’s a little bit harder, because the teams are more prepared than last year. Everybody is focused to do their best and to improve their preparations for the London Olympics,” he added. “It’s very hot, the sand is very nice to play, very soft. Every team can play their best here.”
Other teams unbeaten after two rounds of the pool play in the men’s Main Draw are seventh seeds Nicholas Lucena/Matthew Fuerbringer and 11th seeds Jacob Gibb/Sean Rosenthal of the United States, third seeds Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil and 18th seeds Daan Spijkers/Emiel Boersma from the Netherlands, China’s tenth seeds Wu Penggen/Xu Linyin and Germany’s 12th seeds Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik.
Thirty-two teams are playing a single round robin in eight groups with top three finishers from each group to advance to the 24-team knockout stage. The men’s round robin will continue on Friday with the second and third round matches.
The $600,000 Beijing Grand Slam is the second of eight FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Grand Slams of the year with the Chinese capital welcoming back international beach volleyball for the second straight year since the 2008 Olympic Games.
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