Switzerland advances two teams to men's main draw in Moscow
Veterans Heyer (39) and Laciga (37), both olympians, are teamed up with a younger partner to try and qualify for the Olympic Games one more time. They are competing each other for the second ticket behind Heuscher and Bellaguarda.
‘’There is a small chance we still can make it into the top 16 in the olympic ranking, but our focus is on the Continental Cup final’’, triple olympic participant Laciga said after he and Weingart send off Estonia’s Rivo Vesik and Kristo Kollo (21-17 21-19). The CEV Continental Cup final is scheduled in Turkey June 22-24. Together the two Swiss teams will try to win one ticket for the Games in London. If they do, the national federation decides who goes.
Laciga: ‘’They decide, and they want to wait until the last moment. There are also a lot of additional criteria we have to meet.’’ The blocker from Kerzers says he is not bothered by the pressure of olympic qualification. ‘’It is good to have pressure, I play better. Playing just for fun is not for me.’’
Their rivals Heyer and Chevallier eased by Canada’s Josh Binstock and Martin Reader (21-18 21-9), who are in a similar position. They are competing with fellow countrymen Ben Saxton and Christian Redmann for an olympic spot. Unlike Binstock and Reader 8th seeded Saxton and Redmann qualified for main draw after beating Russia’s Krasilnikov/Bykanov (21-13 21-17) and Dutch Stiekema/Varenhorst (21-19 24-22).
‘’We will play with Josh and Martin in the Continental Cup final and if we win, trials will decide which team goes to the Olympics’’, Saxton said. ‘’But we try not to think about that yet. We play as much as we can now, it is the best way to get better. No room for mistakes in qualification. Tomorrow in pool play will be easier.’’
Other qualifying teams
Also qualifying for the main draw were second seeded Sebastian Dollinger and Stefan Windscheif from Germany, Brazil’s Thiago Santos and Rhooney Ferramenta (5th), Mychal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz from Poland (7th), Dutch Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen (11th) and Spain’s Raul Mesa and Innocencio Lario (13th).
While the men start pool play on Saturday, the women will finish their last match in the pool and play the first round of single elimination. Moscow is hosting a grand slam for the fifth consecutive year after hosting men’s only events in 1998 and 1999. Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego will defend their title in the men’s event. Last year the world champions defeated Heuscher and Bellaguarda in the final. USA’s Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, absent this year due to injury, won the bronze.
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