London, Great Britain, July 31, 2012 – Austrian pair Alexander Horst and Clemens Doppler bounced back from an opening loss at the London 2012 Olympic Games to give themselves the chance to qualify for the elimination rounds with a win over Italians Nicolai Paolo and Daniele Lupo.
The Austrians dominated from start to finish and the Italians were unable to deal with their aggression at the net. Once they had got past Paolo’s height at the net, Lupo was unable to deal with the number of balls Horst and Doppler fired at him and they finished with a 21-18, 21-17 victory.
Horst and Doppler narrowly lost to Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti in their first match at Horse Guard’s Parade, but the win means they now have the chance to finish second in the group, so long as they defeat Switzerland’s Patrick Heuscher and Jefferson Bellaguarda.
“Of course we are very happy with the result,” Horst said. “We knew at the beginning we had the toughest pool, with the number one ranked team plus the Italians and the Swiss. I think we had a really good comeback tonight against the Italians. We played our best and if we play our best we can beat anybody.”
Defending Olympic champions Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser of the USA were pushed hard by Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira, who won the first set. In the second Rogers and Dalhausser controlled proceedings to draw level.
In the third set both teams pushed each other to produce their best form. First the Americans surged ahead before slick work between Herrera and Gavira brought them back into contention. After the Spaniards had saved one match point a Rogers spike sealed the win, 19-21, 21-16, 15-13.
“We really made it hard on us tonight,” Rogers said. “We had a lot of opportunities in the first set and did not score the points. And when we did, we could not hold onto the darn lead. We are really lucky to come out with a 'W' (win) tonight.”
Veterans turn back the clock
In the men’s competition Dutch veterans Richard Schuil and Reinder Nummerdor were in red-hot form against Germany’s Kay Matysik and Jonathan Erdmann and they finished with a 21-9, 21-16 win.
Schuil was in a vibrant mood and continually kept Matysik and Erdmann on the back-foot with his power at the net.
"We feel really great now," Schuil said. "They are a really tough team; we've never won easily against them and have lost a lot of matches. The Olympics are tough, but we handled the game today great.
"It's fantastic to keep them under 10 points. In beach volleyball it's a big thing. So we are really happy they scored nine points.”
Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins recorded their second win in two with a victory against Venezuela’s Igor Hernandez and Jesus Villafane. It means the Latvians will play Schuil and Nummerdor in their final match to determine who will top the pool.
"We are not in the strongest pool, but we have a pool in which all the teams are about the same,” Plavins said. “We've played so well and it is great that we are on the way to getting out of the pool. To me it's another step forward.”
World champions in form
FIVB world champions Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti continued their strong start to London 2012 with a 21-17, 21-12 victory against Patrick Heuscher and Jefferson Bellaguarda.
The win ensures their passage to the knockout stages after a second win from two.
“Our first match (against Doppler and Horst) was tough because we did not know their tactics,” Emanuel said. "In the second match we controlled it more. We know about their strategy and we know how to play them.”
Czech stalwarts Petr Benes and Premysl Kubala beat Japanese pair Kentaro Asahi and Katsuhiro Shiratori in a match in which the combined age was 147. Next up for the Czechs are defending Olympic champions Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser.
"I'm cold,” Benes said. “For me, that was a very difficult match as I have the flu. You can see I'm breathing really hard.
“I'm afraid about whether I am going to be able to play the next match in two days. I'm going to go to bed as I'm cold and sick. I'll stay in bed for two days and get up on Thursday for the match. It's easy preparation."
In London the teams have been split equally into six pools of and the teams play each other once in their group. The top two advance to the single-elimination knockout phase that begins on August 3 along with the two best third-placed teams. The remaining four third-place teams will then compete in playoff matches to determine which pairs will fill the final two places in the 16-team elimination bracket’s first round.
Sixteen teams qualified for the Games through the Olympic Ranking which is based primarily on world tour standings. Five more joined as winners of the AVC, CAVB, CEV, CSV and NORCECA Continental Cup Finals and two from the World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament. Great Britain was granted a berth as hosts.
Pool play continues Tuesday starting at 9 a.m. and continues to the final match of the day which starts at 11 p.m.
The sold-out beach volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games is being held through Aug. 9 in a purpose-built 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of Horse Guards Parade in central London. For current information, visit www.fivb.org.
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