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Moscow Grand Slam | Men
  7/06/2012 - 12/06/2012

Perfect record for Brazil, China, Russia and Germany on first day in Moscow

Russia's Yuri Bogatov (left) and Serguei Prokopiev celebrate a perfect first day in Moscow
Moscow, Russia, June 9, 2012 – Teams from Brazil, Russia, Germany and China kept a perfect record on the first day of men’s pool play at the FIVB SWATCH World Tour Moscow Grand Slam. Third seeded Ricardo Santos and Pedro Cunha, 9th seeded Yury Bogatov and Serguei Prokopiev, 12th seeded Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik and 16th seeded Linyin Xu and Penggen Wu swept away their two matches in straight sets on Saturday.

Much to the delight of the Russian fans on centre court at the Victory Park plaza, Bogatov and Prokopiev easily edged 8th seeded Americans Jacob Gibb and Sean Rosenthal (21-19 21-16) and Sascha Heyer and Sebastian Chevallier from Switzerland (21-17 21-19). Bogatov and Prokopiev finished fifth on home soil in 2010 and this year hope to be the first Russian team to win a medal in Moscow.

‘’It is really great to win these first two games, especially against the USA team, because they are seeded first in our pool'', Prokopiev said. ''We hope to continue this way tomorrow and make it to the second round of play-offs directly. Big thanks to the stands for their perfect support!''

First seeded

First seeded Dutch Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil and the 2011 Moscow champions and second placed Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego from Brazil also remained unbeaten, but lost a set to respectively Dutch Emiel Boersma and Daan Spijkers (21-16 22-24 15-10) and Czech Petr Benes and Premysl Kubala (18-21 21-15 15-11).

Triple European champions Nummerdor and Schuil were heading for a win in straight sets against their compatriots, but failed to secure match points in the second set. Schuil: ‘’We wanted to set things straight after losing to them in the quarterfinals of the European championships last week. So we very much wanted to win in straight sets, but unfortunately we did not.’’

The Dutch were very honoured to be on top of the Moscow seeding list. Olympic indoor gold medallist Schuil even took a picture of it. ‘’It does not happen often that we are seeded first, so I wanted a souvenir. You never know, it might be the last time.’’

European champions

For Germany’s Brink and Reckermann the Moscow Grand Slam is their first appearance this year on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour. Reckermann fell on his shoulder in winter training and it took a long time to heal. But carefully returning into competition, the Germans had a perfect start, claiming the gold at the European championships in The Hague last week. ‘’That was actually kind of funny’’, Reckermann said. ‘’We went there just to have some matches and see how far we could go. There was no pressure at all and then we ended up winning.’’

The 2009 Moscow champions came to Russia with the same attitude and no expectations. Reckermann: ‘’Just play matches, matches, matches, get rhythm. But when we are on the court, of course we always want to win. And who knows, we showed last week we can win without much practice.’’

The Russian men’s event continues on Sunday with the last round of pool matches and the first single elimination round. The pool winners advance directly to the second round, scheduled for Monday. The numbers two and three of each pool start in the first round.

The men’s semifinals and the final of the fifth consecutive Moscow Grand Slam are scheduled for Tuesday, while the women play for the medals on Monday. After Moscow the World Tour continues in Rome for the fourth grand slam of the season. It will be the last event counting for the olympic ranking.   
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