After dropping their second Pool J match – against Latvia’s 17th seeds Alexandrs Samoilous and Ruslans Sorokins – on Thursday, top seeds Rogers/ Dalhausser scored a 21-19, 21-18 victory over Germany’s 16th seeds Eric Koreng/ David Klemperer Friday morning to enter the 24-team knockout stage as second finishers from the preliminary group. Trailing 17-11 in the second set, the Americans ran off six points in a row to level it at 17-all and went on to seal the victory in 45 minutes.
“We expected a third set all the way when we were down 17-11,” said Dalhausser. “We made a couple of plays, they made a couple of mistakes and all of a sudden it’s 17-all. I guess momentum changes fast in this game of beach volleyball. We knew we were out of the pool, second or third; we had no pressure. This afternoon is when the tournament really starts.”
However, it turned out to be the end of their journey as they lost to Nicolai/ Lupo 21-16, 23-21 in the first-round elimination match Friday afternoon.
“Today when I saw the draw, when I saw Rogers/ Dalhausser, I thought maybe the tournament is over,” said Nicolai. “But we played very well. My partner served fantastic serves and made it very difficult for their reception. I’m very happy. It’s fantastic! They are maybe the best team in the world. For us it’s a fantastic moment.”
Jonathan Erdmann/ Kay Matysik of Germany upset defending champions Alison Cerutti/ Emanuel Rego of Brazil 21-18, 25-23 in 47 minutes in the showdown between two previously unbeaten teams to win Pool N and a bye in Friday afternoon’s first round of the elimination stage.
“It was an interesting game for both teams,” said Erdmann. “I think neither team played their best today, with a lot of mistakes; it’s not normal in men’s volleyball. At the end, it’s good to win, of course, and we won the pool. I’m very happy.”
Erdmann attributed their second straight win in three weeks over the Brazilian tandem to a strong serving performance from his partner. “We beat them in Brasilia, so this season we had two wins and no loss against them; it’s good for us,” he said. “Today, my partner made really good float serves, which Emanuel had some problems with. I think this is today’s key points.”
Two teams each from the United States and the Netherlands and one from Brazil joined Erdmann/Matysik in the men’s top 16 with unbeaten records after the conclusion of the men’s pool play Friday morning. They were third seeds Reinder Nummerdor/ Richard Schuil and 18th seeds Daan Spijkers/ Emiel Boersma from the Netherlands; seventh seeds Nicholas Lucena/ Matthew Fuerbringer and 11th seeds Jacob Gibb/ Sean Rosenthal of USA; and eighth seeds Benjamin Insfran/ Bruno Oscar Schmidt (Brazil). Other preliminary pool winners who secured their berths in the top 16 round were Latvia’s 17th seeds Alexandrs Samoilous/ Ruslans Sorokins and 20th seeds Martins Plavins/ Janis Smedins.
Alison/ Emanuel recovered soon enough to defeat 31st seeds Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varenhorst of the Netherlands 21-14, 21-17 in 32 minutes in a first-round elimination match to stay in contention.
“Today, it’s a different tournament,” Emmanuel said. “Yesterday, it was very hot and today it was like cold and the sand is more flat. But we can handle it and we’re still in the race. I think all the teams need to adapt to the different way to play, but you know, that’s the fun of beach volleyball! Any game, any day can be different.”
Two more teams from Brazil qualified for the top 16 after winning first-round elimination matches, namely second seeds Ricardo Alex Costa Santos/ Pedro Henrique Cunha and sixth seeds Pedro Solberg Salgado/ Marcio Henrique Araujo. Chinese medal hope Wu Penggen/ Xu Linyin also stayed in the competition after brushing aside fourth seeds Pablo Herrera Allepuz/ Adrian Gavira Collado from Spain 21-11, 25-23.
The $600,000 Beijing Grand Slam will continue on Saturday with the women’s semifinals and finals as well as two rounds of men’s elimination matches.