Beijing, May 12, 2012 — Fifth seeds Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego of Brazil got a scare on Saturday before rallying past 18th seeds Daan Spijkers/ Emiel Boersma from the Netherlands in three sets (21-23, 21-15, 15-9) to stay on track in defence of their FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour Beijing Grand Slam title.
Having eliminated eighth-seeded pair Benjamin Insfran/ Bruno Oscar Schmidt 23-21, 21-19 in an all-Brazilian match Saturday morning, Alison/ Emanuel held their nerve to reach the men’s semifinals.
“I knew this quarterfinal would be a tough match, because I saw them play really well against other teams,” said Emanuel after the full-set thriller that lasted 52 minutes. “I think me and Alison went to the game more focused, trying not to make mistakes, because we saw them play very tight, very consistently and make very few mistakes.”
However, the lower-ranked Dutch duo, who pulled off an upset win over Brazilian second seeds Ricardo Alex Costa Santos/ Pedro Henrique Cunha in Friday’s pool play, still managed to claim the opening set and pushed Alison/ Emanuel to the edge of elimination.
“Their side-out was almost perfect in the first set; we almost lost the match,” Emanuel admitted. “But the second and third sets were good for me and Alison, because we thought more about the game.”
Emanuel, who paired with Alison to win the inaugural Beijing Grand Slam in 2011, was looking forward to Sunday’s semifinals.
“I can see every team is very focused and very determined to win,” he said. “For sure there will be a great challenge tomorrow. But our main goal here is to prepare for the London Olympic Games. We play hard, lose some games, win other tough games – this builds a good image in our concentration and brings back our confidence from last year.”
Alison/ Emanuel will vie for a berth in the men’s final against Italian 14th seeds Nicolai Paolo/ Daniele Lupo. After ousting Beijing Olympic champions Todd Rogers/ Philip Dalhausser of the United States on Friday, the Italian duo went on to pick up wins over Latvian 20th seeds Martins Plavins/ Janis Smedins and Germany’s 12th seeds Jonathan Erdmann/ Kay Matysik to make the top four for the second time this season.
Having finished fourth in the Myslowice Open three weeks ago, Nicolai/ Lupo had to change their tickets after their surprising performance at the Chaoyang Park.
The other berths in Sunday morning’s semifinals were taken by third seeds Reinder Nummerdor/ Richard Schuil of the Netherlands and 11th seeds Jacob Gibb/ Sean Rosenthal from the United States.
Following the conclusion of the women’s competitions on Saturday, the $600,000 Beijing Grand Slam will lower its curtain on Sunday after the men’s final match.