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Pedro/Bruno beat German dark horses to top Shanghai pool

After last week's fifth place finish at Fuzhou, Pedro and Bruno are hoping to rekindle the type of form which saw them finish as Brazilian national tour champions in 2012/2013

Shanghai, China, May 1, 2013 – Pedro Solberg Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt from Brazil outlasted German dark horses Mischa Urbatzka and Markus Bockermann in three sets on their way to a pair of wins that sent them to the top of Pool C in the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Shanghai Grand Slam men’s Main Draw, which started on Wednesday.

Following a fifth finish in the Fuzhou Open last week, Pedro/Bruno set off to a fine start in Shanghai as they held off Urbatzka/Bockermann, upset winners over American duo Todd Rogers/Ryan Doherty in Tuesday’s Qualification Tournament, 2-1 (23-21, 16-21, 15-11) and went on to ease past the Netherlands’ Daan Spijkers/Steven van de Velde 2-0 (21-14, 21-15).

“I’m feeling good because in my opinion this was our best match in the World Tour this year,” said Pedro after the win over the Dutch duo. “We didn’t play well in the last tournament for many reasons, I think we were pretty tired and we arrived the night before we started to play. Today also the first game wasn’t easy and this match we didn’t need so spend so much power on things that we are used to.”

“The German guys had an excellent qualifying. Yesterday they beat Todd Rogers, so I think they started in better shape than us, but in the tiebreak we started to play our level. “I’m excited to wake up tomorrow and play like we are playing right now,” said Bruno.

The Brazilians expected to have better performance in the second event and the first Grand Slam of the new season. “We come to the Tour with really high expectations because we did really well in Brazil in such a high level national tournament. We expect to at least play the same level we have been playing there,” Pedro added.

Sean Rosenthal/Philip Dalhausser of the United States and Nicolai Paolo/Daniele Lupo of Italy, the gold and silver medal winners in the Fuzhou Open, also took two wins in a row to stay atop in respective pools.

Following an easy win over China's Zhang Lizeng/Li Zhuoxin in the morning, Rosenthal/Dalhausser held off London Olympic gold medallist Julius Brink and his new partner Sebastian Fuchs 2-1 (21-18, 20-22, 15-10) in the afternoon. It was tied at 4-4 before the Americans staged a 6-0 run on back of some fantastic attacks by Dalhausser including a turn-around kill and they never looked back.

“I feel pretty good about our match,” said Dalhausser. “A tough match, in tough conditions, against a good team like that, I happy we came out with the win. “Yeah, we had a nice run, we took advantage of the good side and I really served hard into the wind and the wind pushed the ball down.”

Meanwhile, local hopes were diminished after Wu Penggen/Wu Jiaxin slipped to an 1-1 record in Pool A. Narrowly escaping an opening upset loss Wedneday morning, the Chinese tandem Wu Penggen and Wu Jiaxin finally stumbled in their second full set match of the day.

It took veteran Wu Penggen and his less experienced partner 53 minutes to collect their opening win 2-1 (21-15, 21-23, 20-18) over Canada’s Maverick Hatch/Sam Schachter. With the Chinese taking the first set easily and the score tied at 20-all in the second, Wu made two unforced spiking errors to allow the Canadians level one set back 22-20. The two sides fought point by point in the tiebreaker before Wu Jiaxin won a fight against Hatch over the net to give the Chinese the edge at 19-18 and Wu Penggen clinched the winner with a lucky ace.

However, the host team did not have the same luck in the afternoon, falling to Germany’s Eric Koreng/Alexander Walkenhorst 2-1 (13-21, 23-21, 15-8) in 48 minutes.

“I think Jiaxin played OK today. He is only in his third season on the tour and he’s got quite a lot to learn. I am satisfied with our fighting spirits despite the loss in the second match,” said Wu Penggen, who had captured World Tour titles in Moscow and Marseille in 2010 with Xu Linyin. “We will try our best and improve our play together game by game.”

Thirty-two teams are playing a single round robin in eight groups with top three finishers from each group to advance to the 24-team knockout stage.

The double gender Shanghai Grand Slam is the first of a record 10 Grand Slam events on the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar with the women’s Main Draw to kick off on Thursday.

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