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Patria Direct Prague Open | Men
  22/05/2012 - 27/05/2012

Rogers/Dalhausser ease through first day in Prague

Americans Phil Dalhausser (blocking) and Todd Rogers played their best match so far this season
Prague, Czech Republic, May 24, 2012 – While Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser eased through the first day of main draw at the FIVB SWATCH World Tour Patria Direct Open, their rivals Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego had a major upset on Thursday.

The reigning world champions from Brazil and title defenders in Prague were stopped by Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko from Kazakhstan in the second round. Alison and Emanuel won the first set 21-13, lost the second with just a small difference (19-21), but had too many unforced errors in the tiebreak (9-15). They will continue in the loser’s bracket on Friday.

In the early morning another Brazilian top team failed to win. Former world and olympic champion Ricardo Santos and his partner Pedro Cunha lost to Polish qualifiers Michal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz in straight sets: 21-19 22-20. But the Brazilians, golden medallists in Myslowice in April, are also still in the race after winning against Canada’s Binstock/Reader (21-15 21-23 15-10) in the loser’s bracket.

Best match so far
Rogers and Dalhausser won both their matches in straight sets, 21-18 21-18 against Czech Kufa/Hadrava and 21-14 21-10 against Latvia’s Plavins/Smedins. ‘‘That last match was our best so far this season‘‘, Dalhausser said. ‘‘There have been matches were Todd would play his best or I would, but this time we played very well as a team, there was a good chemistry.‘‘

The reigning olympic champions, who already won gold in Brasilia and Shanghai this year, are content with their preparation towards London so far. ‘‘We had a little bump in the road in Beijing, where we were eliminated by the Italians in the first round, but basically we are on the right track, working out things and improving towards the Games.‘‘

Behind Rogers and Dalhausser, Matthew Fuerbringer and Nick Lucena and Jacob Gibb and Sean Rosenthal are in a close battle for the second US olympic ticket. Third seeded Fuerbringer and Lucena were surprisingly eliminated on their very first day in Prague, losing to Dutch Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varenhorst (21-16 14-21 15-10) and Brazil’s Thiago Santos and Rhooney Ferramenta (22-20 17-21 22-20).

Gibb and Rosenthal on the other hand did excellent business beating Russia’s Bogatov/Prokopiev (16-21 21-14 15-10) and home team Dumek/Tichy (21-15 21-16). All Czech teams were cheered on fanatically by lots of passionate Czech volleyball fans, creating a great atmosphere on the courts on Stvanice Island.

Prague is a special place

‘‘I love playing here‘‘, Gibb said. ‘‘We won gold here in 2008 and since I have only two career titles, this is very special to me. We did not know what to expect against the Czechs, because we had never seen them play before. They are a bit undersized, but compensate that with great ball control. There is a lot of pressure for us, but we played well and than all you have to do is concentrate on your opponent.‘‘

Also starting in the third round of main draw on Friday besides the two American teams are Latvia’s Samoilovs/Sorokins, Brazil’s Pedro/Marcio Araujo, Sidorenko/Dyachenko from Kazakhstan, two Dutch teams Nummerdor/Schuil and Stiekema/Varenhorst and Benes/Kubala for the host country. The Czech veterans will start their second day with an interesting game against Rogers and Dalhausser. They are trailing 1-3 in the head-to-head results. Another 16 teams are competing in the loser’s bracket.

The second day of main draw competition of the fourth edition of the men’s only Patria Direct Prague Open starts at 10.00. Two teams will claim a spot in Saturday’s semifinals. The other two duos will emerge from the loser’s bracket Saturday morning.

The medal matches are scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Last year Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego beat USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers in the final. Sascha Heyer and Sebastian Chevallier from Switzerland took third place. Prague also hosted the FIVB SWATCH World Tour in 2008 and 2010.   
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