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

USA and Brazil claim semifinal berth at Patria Direct Prague Open

Marcio Araujo tries to mislead Richard Schuil while Pedro Solberg is watching
Prague, Czech Republic, May 25, 2012 – Olympic champions Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser on Friday claimed a spot in the semifinals of the FIVB SWATCH World Tour Patria Direct Open. Brazil’s Pedro Solberg and Marcio Araujo also advanced to the final four in Prague.

The 2011 Prague champions Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego, who ended up in the loser’s bracket on Thursday, escaped elimination in a very close game against Jacob Gibb and Sean Rosenthal. After warding off four American match points in the tiebreak they eventually pulled trough after 55 minutes: 21-19 17-21 19-17.

Together with Brazil’s Ricardo Santos/Pedro Cunha, Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Ruslans Sorokins, Czechs Petr Benes/Premysl Kubala and Dutch teams Jon Stiekema/Christiaan Varenhorst and Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil they will compete for the remaining two semifinal spots on Saturday.

First seeded Americans Rogers and Dalhausser reached their third consecutive Czech final four, winning gold in 2010 and silver last year, and their 40th overall. They are the only ones still without set loss, though they had a tough first set against Latvians Samoilovs and Sorokins in their second game of the day (22-20 21-17).

Not super crisp

‘‘I was not super crisp today and they had some unpredictable and lucky balls we could not anticipate to‘‘, Rogers said. ‘‘They beat us pretty bad a few weeks ago in Beijing [21-14 21-17], so we are happy we took revenge today.‘‘ Earlier on Friday the 2007 world champions send Czech team Benes and Kubala to the loser’s bracket, winning 21-13 21-16.

Multiple junior world champion Pedro and 2008 silver olympic medallist Marcio Araujo beat two Dutch teams to reach the semifinals. After an easy 21-14 21-14 against young Stiekema and Varenhorst they were up against a bigger challenge against three time European champions Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil.

Special guest

But in a rematch of last month’s fourth round in Poland the Brazilians beat the Dutch again, this time even in two sets (22-20 21-18), leading the series 2-0 now. In their fifth tournament together Pedro and Marcio claimed their third final four, witnessed by a special guest at Stvanice Island: Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic.

Despite having to deal with olympic qualification pressure Pedro and Marcio played calm and focussed while Nummerdor and Schuil made too many unforced errors. Marcio: ‘‘I just shrug of that pressure, I just play and give my best. It is always tough attacking against a tall guy like Schuil, but I tried to change my hand at the last second to mislead him and that worked well today.‘‘

The fourth edition of the single gender Patria Direct Prague Open continues on Saturday at 11.00 with the loser’s round match between Czechs Benes/Kubala and Ricardo/Cunha. The Brazilians are leading the series 3-0 so far. The semifinals are scheduled for 15.00 and 16.00.

Prague is the fifth men’s event on the 2012 FIVB World Tour calendar. Next events will be the double gender Grand Slams in Moscow (June 6-12) and Rome (12-17). The European teams travel to the Netherlands first for the European Championships in The Hague (May 30-June 3).   
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25/05/2012 USA and Brazil claim semifinal berth at Patria Direct Prague Open
24/05/2012 Rogers/Dalhausser ease through first day in Prague
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