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Boys from Brazil endure tough but rewarding start to life in Stavanger

Ricardo had plenty to cheer about on day one of the Stavanger Grand Slam men's pool play
Stavanger, Norway, June 26, 2014 – Alvaro Filho and Ricardo Santos enjoyed a strong start at the Stavanger Grand Slam, albeit after they were forced to work hard for their two wins from two tough fixtures as the men’s pool play got underway on Thursday.
The Brazilian pair started off with a 2-1 (17-21, 21-15, 15-13) win over reigning FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour champions Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins and then rounded off the day by beating Germany’s Alexander Walkenhorst and Stefan Windscheif 2-1 (21-17, 20-22, 19-17).

“It was two wins, but two hard wins, they both went to the tie-break,” Alvaro said. 

“The first one against the Latvians, they were the best team last year, so we are very proud of that victory and the German guys played really well and served really well and caused us many problems.”

Veteran Ricardo and the up and coming Alvaro enjoyed a strong debut year together in 2013. 

They won gold at the Gstaad Grand Slam and silver at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and are now aiming to get back to the same heights as last season. 

“Me and Ricardo split at the end of last season to play the National Tour with other players,” Alvaro added. “Now we are getting better as we continue through the tournaments.”

German pair aiming to cement top spot

Sebastian Dollinger and Lars Fluggen also enjoyed a pair of wins to lead the way in Pool F. 

The German duo began the day by beating FIVB world champions Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer 2-0 (21-15, 21-18). They then followed up by beating Moscow Grand Slam winners Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov.

“It was very close in the third set,” Fluggen said. “We should not have made it so close, because we had a good lead, but in the third set the tactics worked really well.

“We learned from the first set and what we saw there, we were able to do in the second set. Sebastian blocked the spikes from Krasilnikov really well. The block and defence was the key to our win I think.”

Dollinger and Fluggen now face Austria’s Robin Seidl and Alexander Huber in their final pool match on Friday and a win will take them straight through to the second knockout round. 

Stavanger is their sixth tournament together, with their quarterfinal finish at the CEV European Championships their best result so far.

“Now we have one more game in the pool play,” Fluggen added. “I do not know if we need to win the last game, but nevertheless in the past the games in the other tournaments were not that good. 

“We did not win that many games, so we are very happy know to win these two games. It feels really great.”

The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam runs from Wednesday, June 25 until Sunday June 29. It is the eighth event and the fourth Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.

The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Gstaad Grand Slam which runs from July 9-13.

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