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Spain’s Herrera and Gavira upset Brazil to win the pool

Spain's Pablo Herrera and his partner Adrian Gavira topped the pool with three straight wins
Stare Jablonki, Poland, July 4, 2013 - Spain's Pablo Herrera has made an impressive start to his sixth FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Mazury 2013. After months of recovering from knee surgery and only two events to prepare, the Olympic silver medallist and his partner Adrian Gavira booked their third straight win to top the pool on Thursday.

Herrera and Gavira upset Brazil’s golden pair Pedro Solberg and Bruno Oscar Schmidt 2-0 (21-17 21-18) in their final pool match.

While Pedro and Bruno, who have already collected gold, silver and bronze on the World Tour this year, appeared to lack focus in the early morning game, Spain made few mistakes.

“The Brazilians are very experienced players and very aggressive in blocking”, Gavira said. “We just had to stay focused during the game.”

The Spanish team finished 17th in The Hague and 25th in Rome and are very pleased with their excellent start in Stare Jablonki.

“We played very well in the pool and are happy with this result. Although we were in a difficult group we managed to qualify”, Gavira said. “The game was very exhausting for us but we can’t wait to see whom we will play tomorrow.”

 “We want to play our best. If we will end up with a medal we will be very happy,” Herrera said.  

For Pedro and Bruno there was the disappointment of winning only one of their three matches. 

“What can I say, we lost”, Pedro said. “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the pool.”

Alison and Emanuel ease through pool phase

Reigning world champions Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego eased through the pool phase with three wins after their match was cancelled on Wednesday. Having missed out on a match after Italy’s Matteo Cecchini and Paolo Ingrosso, the Brazilians were eager to play.

Their opponents from Latvia, Martins Plavins and Janis Peda, put up a good fight in the first set, but were overpowered in the second (21-17 21-11).

“We played very well and had a good strategy”, Emanuel said. “It was a good match to improve our form. “

Alison and Emanuel are set on successfully defending their 2011 title, but won’t let the pressure get to them. “We always have pressure, every match, every tournament, because every tournament is different.”

Forty-year old veteran Emanuel is aiming for his fourth world title, but the 2003 gold medal in Rio de Janeiro will always be his favourite, “because it was in my hometown, on the beach I know very well and all my family and friends were there.”

Dutch recover from shaky start

Dutch Olympians Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil recovered well from their shaky start to pool play. After losing 2-1 to Sweden in their first match, they secured a 2-0 win over Switzerland on Wednesday and folowed up with another 2-1 (20-22 21-10 15-11) victory in their final pool match against Germany’s Markus Böckermann and Mischa Urbatzka to finish on top of pool G.

“Our last two matches were pretty consistent“, Nummerdor said. “But still I think we are not close to our level at the Olympics, but game by game we are getting better.”

The notorious slow starters lost their first set against Böckermann and Urbatzka, but a change in serving was their key to victory. “We started slowly and during the first set we did not have any grip on their side-out, so we needed to have more serving pressure”, Nummerdor said.

“I started to risk the long jump flow. I'd never done it before, started trying yesterday and was not very successful. But today it was incredible, I made six points in a row and we won the second and started well in the third, so I think the serve made the difference today.”

After considering retirement after the London Olympic Games, where they finished fourth, Nummerdor and Schuil are happy to be back. They played in The Hague and Rome Grand Slams to prepare for the World Championships and finished in ninth and 17th, but they are aiming high at the World Championships.

“Anything can happen now”, Nummerdor said. “We have seen it in the women’s competition. You can have a tough draw even when you win the pool and an easy one finishing third in the pool. But I hope our best matches are still to come.”

The men’s competition continues on Friday with 32 teams in the first elimination round. The second round and the quarterfinals are scheduled for Saturday, with the semi-finals and medal matches played on Sunday.

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