FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Puerto Vallarta Open | 6 - 11 October 2015


Press release

Men’s pool play nets five undefeated teams at FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open

Netherlands' 2013 FIVB World Champions Robert Meeuwsen, left, and Alexander Brouwer finished pool play undefeated with a 3-0 record Thursday to receive a bye into the second elimination round Friday at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open in Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, October 8, 2015 — Topped by five undefeated teams after the last of three pool play matches Thursday, 24 men’s teams have advanced to Friday’s first two rounds of single-elimination matches at the double-gender $150,000 FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, the season opening event on the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.

The double-gender event, first of three tournaments on the 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB World Tour schedule, is being held through Sunday at the purpose-built event site on Playa Camarones. Back in Puerto Vallarta for the second straight year, the FIVB World Tour is visiting Mexico for the sixth time for men and the sixth time for women, and the 3-0 teams are led by two teams each from the Netherlands and the United States along with one from Italy. As pool winners, the eight teams will now receive automatic byes into the second round of single eliminations on Friday afternoon.

The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open started Tuesday with a qualification tournament for men Tuesday and women on Wednesday that determined the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw followed by two days of round robin pool play for each gender. The top three teams in the eight pools (24 total teams) will advance from pool play to the single-elimination knockout rounds. Men’s pool play was held Wednesday and Thursday. Two elimination rounds will be held on Friday. On Saturday will be the men’s quarterfinals and semifinals with the men’s medal matches and awarding ceremony on Sunday on the Playa Camarones stadium court.

The women’s pool play matches are being played on Thursday and Friday with the first two rounds of eliminations on Friday as well. The women’s quarterfinals and semifinals will be held on Saturday and the event will conclude with the women’s medal matches and awarding ceremony on Sunday.

After their single match wins on Thursday, winning five of the eight pools with 3-0 records were Netherlands’ top-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst, Netherlands’ third-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, USA’s fourth-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, Italy’s fifth-seeded Alex Ranghieri/Adrian Carambula and USA’s sixth-seeded John Hyden/Tri Bourne.

With 2-1 records, winning  their respective pools through tiebreaker rules were Germany’s 10th-seeded Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen, Switzerland’s 15th-seeded Alexei Strasser/Nico Beeler and Austria’s 25th-seeded (eighth-seeded qualification team) Thomas Kunert/Christoph Dressler.

While Thursday’s hot weather and even more heated action on the court netted several seed breakthroughs in the final pool play matches, the biggest by far was secured by Switzerland’s youthful 15th-seeded Strasser/Beeler. The youthful Swiss team upset USA’s second-seeded veterans Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson in straight sets on the Playa Camarones stadium court, 21-16, 21-18 in 45 minutes.

With both teams playing inside the stadium court under blazing sunshine with virtually no wind, temperatures that felt like 100F with 75% humidity, Switzerland’s Strasser, 28, and Beeler, 22, seemed intensely focused and made few mistakes to overcome USA’s powerful Gibb, 39, and Patterson, 35.

USA’s Gibb/Patterson, who finished pool play with a 2-1 record and will advance to the first round of eliminations, are playing in their 32nd tournament with two gold medals, two silver and two bronze to their credit. Conversely, the Swiss team, also 2-1, is playing in just its seventh FIVB World Tour event with one fourth place finish at this year’s FIVB Lucerne Open in Switzerland.

Switzerland’s Strasser/Beeler won their pool by way of tiebreaker having defeated Gibb/Patterson, securing the bye into the second elimination round.

Among the other upsets on the shores Bahia de Banderas, most notable was Switzerland’s 31st-seeded 2014 U17 FIVB World Champions Florian Breer/Yves Haussener defeating Norway’s 18th-seeded Bjarte Usken/Olvind Hordvik in straight sets, 21-19, 21-19 in 42 minutes. Winning their U17 FIVB World Championship in Acapulco last year, Switzerland’s Breer, 16 and Haussener, 17, win Thursday will also advance them into the men’s elimination rounds starting Friday. And this is their first FIVB World Tour event as they earned this wild card into the main draw by virtue of the FIVB age group crown.

Following his team’s surprising upset of the second-seeded team in the tournament and by tie-breaker the pool to receive a bye into the second elimination round, Switzerland’s Strasser said, “I think this was the hottest match in my who career (referring to the weather). I also think it was the best match I have ever played. We were relentless against the Americans. I was pretty down two days ago. I was sick and it was a huge fight to maintain on the court. It’s great to be rewarded like this against a great team from the USA. It really is an unbelievable win for us and now we even get the bye into the second round tomorrow.”

From the other winning Swiss team, Breer said after his team’s victory, "It Is very nice that you can start in the Main Draw with a Wild Card and get a win and advance to the elimination rounds. It is a really high game level on the FIVB World Tour, much more than on the under-17 age group FIVB World Championships that we won last year in Acapulco. This is an amazing place and an amazing experience for us in our first FIVB World Tour event. Our strategy is to play defense and get some blocks and everything else right now for us is a bonus."

For the second straight day, enjoying the enthusiasm of the enthusiastic home-country crowd and winning a match without his regular teammate Lombardo Ontiveros, Mexico’s Juan Virgen and Lombardo’s younger brother Ulises Ontiveros pulled off another upset by finishing pool play with a two-set victory over Chile’s ninth-seeded cousins Marco Gimalt/Esteban Grimalt, 21-19, 22-20 in 46 minutes.

After the Wednesday afternoon win over Israel’s Sean Faiga/Ariel Hilman, Mexico’s U. Ontiveros/Virgen advance to the elimination rounds with a 2-1 record.

Winners of the gold medal at this year’s Pan American Games in Canada, Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros won the bronze medal last year in the inaugural FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open.

As the host nation for the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, Mexico has three men’s teams that were pre-seeded into the main draw and two more teams in the qualification tournament. Mexico’s main draw teams are eighth-seeded Juan Virgen/Ulises Ontiveros, 30th-seeded Joe Rubio/Josue Gaxiola and 32nd-seeded Ricardo Galindo/Juan Revuelta. Mexico’s Virgin/U. Ontiveros (2-1) and Galindo/Revuelta (1-2) both advanced to Friday’s first elimination round and Rubio/Gaxiola (0-3) was eliminated after pool play Thursday.

Men’s teams in the qualifier from Mexico were, Raymond Stephens/Miguel Sarabia and Elvis Perez/Edwin Valencia. The two qualifying teams were eliminated in the first round on Tuesday.

The gold medal team in each gender at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500.

The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open is the 330th men’s event since the FIVB began men’s competition in 1987 and the 294th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.

Puerto Vallarta is one of three cities to host an international FIVB beach volleyball event. Others have been Acapulco and Rosarito Beach.

Prior to last year’s Puerto Vallarta event, Acapulco had FIVB World Tour events in 1999, 2005 and 2006 and Rosarito Beach hosted a FIVB World Tour stop in 2000. In 2014, Acapulco returned to the FIVB international calendar, hosting the inaugural 17U FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, one of four age-group world championships held every other year by the FIVB.

After the season-opening event in Puerto Vallarta, the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, with placement points counting in the FIVB Olympic Rankings for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, continues with the two remaining 2016 FIVB World Tour events on the 2015 portion of the schedule. The first will be the double-gender $150,000 FIVB Antalya Open in Turkey (Oct. 20-25) and the final event in 2015 will be the men’s only $75,000 FIVB Doha Open in Qatar (Nov. 9-13).

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