FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Xiamen Open 2016 | 12 - 17 April 2016

#XiamenOpen


Press release

Schalk/Saxton lead eight teams into men’s top 16 at Xiamen Open


Ben Saxton (L) of Canada in action.

Xiamen, China, April 14, 2016 – Top seeds Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton of Canada won round robin pool A with their third straight win here on Thursday to lead eight teams into the men’s top 16 at the double-gender $150,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Xiamen Open.

Second seeds and 2015 Xiamen Open bronze medalists Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins from Latvia, Italy’s Alex Ranghieri/Ignacio Carambula and Americans John Hyden/Tri Bourne also secured the top place of respectively pool with three victories in a row and a bye in the first round of single elimination stage.

Schalk/Saxton worked hard for a 2-0 (32-20, 21-16) victory Thursday morning over previously unbeaten Latvians Martins Plavins/Haralds Regza in pool A.

“It’s not easy; the first set went to thirty something. They were playing pretty well and in the first set the side outs were pretty good on both teams. We managed to get to sneak the first side-out and we were both tired in the second set, and we managed to make fewer errors than them. So we got the pool, which is nice,” said Saxton, who was satisfactory with their fine start in Xiamen following a disappointing 25th finish in Qatar last week.

“We got a much better start than last week. We got 25th last time, this week we need to come out stronger and we have so far. So we are hoping to continue to do well and play as well,” he added. “It’s the first time we won the pool this year. We are going to hope that that gives us the confidence to keep going further. We’ll see who we play next and hopefully we’ll beat them and continue forward.”

Schalk/Saxton, who were in a good position to qualify for their first Olympic Games, have already put their eyes on Rio.

“We are in good shape to make the Olympics, so we are hoping to increase our rank and get good seeding in the Olympics so that we can do well out there as well,” Saxton said. “(In Rio) We’ll take it one game at a game, try to win every game that we play and hopefully we’ll be able to come up with some souvenirs to come back with.”


Samoilovs/Smedins overcame a slow start to rally past Turkey’s 15th seeds Murat Giginoglu/Volkan Gögtepe 2-1 (21-23, 21-19, 15-11) for the top place in pool B.

“The previous match finished too late and we had too long warm-up, more than one hour I think. We lost this explosion and started to play slow and made so many mistakes at the beginning,” said Samoilovs. “Late in the first set, we came together, got motivated and came close. Then they were a bit lucky and they got the defense and attack over the net. In the second and third set, we were controlling the situation. We were playing our match and made less mistakes and it’s good to win the pool and we can sleep longer in the morning.”


Italy’s sixth seeds and 2014 Fuzhou Open champions Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo, who had suffered an opening upset loss to Polish qualifiers Michal Bryl and Kacper Kujawiak, finished third in pool F after scoring their second full set win in two days against Chile’s 11th seeds Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt 2-1 (15-21, 21-14, 18-16) Thursday afternoon. Falling down 3-0 in the tiebreaker, Nicolai/Lupo ran off four points in a row to force back into the game. After the two teams fought to a 16-all tie, Nicolai had a smash and Marco Grimalt made a spiking error to award the victory to the Italians.

“It’s difficult for us to start with a loss, because from then on every match was very important and like eliminations. While the good thing is that we are now focused on every match and every point,” said Nicolai. “The last two matches were really close and we have won both by two points in tiebreaker, that’s very important. Tomorrow is another day and we will get restarted.”

Bryl/Kujawiak finished atop of pool F with a 2-1 win-loss record and superior sets and points ratio while Nicolai/Lupo also booked their berth in the knock-out stage.

Other pool winners that have made sure a top 16 finish are fifth seeds Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov of Russia, ninth seeds Ontiveros Lombardo/Juan Virgen from Mexico and Spain’s seventh seeds Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira.

After the conclusion of the pool play, the 24-team knock-out stage will start on Friday with the second and third finishers from each pool to contend in the first round while top finishers awaiting in the second.

The gold medal team at the FIVB Xiamen Open will split $11,000 and 500 points, the silver $8,000 and 450 points, the bronze $6,000 and 400 points.

The 2015/2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar began with three Open events at the end of 2015. The remainder of the 2015/2016 calendar will include multiple FIVB Open and multiple FIVB Grand Slam events along with more Swatch FIVB Major Series events, and the second Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. The highlight of the calendar will be the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil featuring 24 teams in each gender.
The event continues the road to Rio that lasts until June 13, 2016 with FIVB World Tour events counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine the 15 of 24 spots for each gender that will take part in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

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