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Brazil’s Bruno/Alison pushed hard in Berlin qualification

Brazil's Bruno Oscar Schmidt (left) and Alison Cerutti advanced to main draw with a 2-0 win over the Dutch
Berlin, Germany, June 18, 2014 - Brazil’s Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Alison Cerutti were pushed hard in qualification on Wednesday, but reached the main draw of the FIVB World Tour Berlin smart Grand Slam anyway.

The top seeded qualification team had a bye in the first qualification round, but their Dutch opponents in the second were not about to give them a free pass into main draw.

Daan Spijkers and 2.12 meters tall Michiel van Dorsten took a cheeky two-point lead in the first set, until Bruno and Alison levelled at 19-19 and had the opportunity to close it at 20-19.

The Dutch fought back with great digs and one-handed blocks and had two set points of their own at 21-20 and 22-21, but it was the Brazilian team that kept their cool and finished the set at their third set point.

“They played pretty well in their first match and we knew it was going to be like that”, Bruno said. The Dutch team beat Russia’s Goncharez/Prokopiev 2-0 (21-15, 28-26) in their first round match.

High pace

In the second set Bruno and Alison took a lead from the start. The Dutch came back to one point at 13-12, 16-15, 17-16 and 18-17, but Van Dorsten and Spijkers could not keep up with the high pace anymore and at 20-17 Bruno finished the game with a pass to the back of the court: 25-23, 21-17.

“The defence player (Spijkers) made a lot of important digs at crucial moments and the first set was very challenging mentally”, said Bruno. “We started well in both sets, but in the middle we made some mistakes and the secret was to try to fix that as good as we could and we did this. We survived and I am happy with that.”

“An important thing about qualification is that you control your mind as much as you can”, he continued. “We did that, especially in the first set, so I am happy. I hoped to start like this, with a strong mind, that’s the secret of qualification and I hope we can continue playing like this.”

Bruno (27) and Alison (28) teamed up together this year, winning silver at the Fuzhou Open, finishing 17th in Shanghai and 5th in Moscow last week. Still the Brazilians, who have won a lot of medals with different partners in previous years, had to start in qualification in Berlin.

“It’s hard”, said Bruno, who played with Pedro Solberg last year while Alison was at the side of Emanuel Rego for four years. Alison and Emanuel even won the German Grand Slam in 2012.

Trying to make the best of qualification

“We lost some points from last year, so that’s why we have to start in qualification, but we are trying to make the best of qualification. We know that if we keep strong here, we will earn more in main draw. Our focus is doing the best we can, tournament by tournament and try to return to main draw as fast as we can.”

About their goal in Berlin, he said. “We want to keep the same level as in Moscow. In my opinion we played very well there. Unfortunately we lost in the tiebreak to the Italians.” Bruno and Alison were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Nicolai and Lupo in Moscow last week.

“But the sand here is better, that will make a whole difference. We have nothing to complain, it’s an excellent tournament, excellent everything.”

The other teams that advanced to main draw are: USA’s Doherty/Lucena (3rd seeded) and Hyden/Bourne (7), Hatch/Redmann (8) from Australia, Austria’s Winter/Petutschnig (11), Spain’s Marco/Garcia (12), Czech team Kubala/Hadrava (13), and Swiss team Gabathuler/Gerson (15). The latter were responsible for knocking out second seeded Huber/Seidl from Austria.

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