London, Great Britain, August 1, 2012 – Brazilian duo Pedro Cunha and 2004 Olympic champion Ricardo Santos had to be at their very best to beat Josh Binstock and Martin Reader to finish their pool unbeaten en route to the round of 16 at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Brazilians were pushed hard from start to finish by the Canadians who were roared on by a large contingent of their compatriots in the Horse Guard’s Parade crowd. In the first set the Brazilians eventually shook off Binstock and Reader to take an early lead. The Canadians were equally dogged in the second set and saved three points before Cunha won the match with a powerful spike.
“It was a great match and they were two tough sets with only a small points’ difference,” Cunha said. “We played our best and finished pool play with three wins. It means we go straight to the quarter-finals and have a few days rest which is important in a long tournament like this.”
Despite the defeat Binstock and Reader still have the chance to reach the last 16 if they win their lucky loser match.
“We really thought we could win the game,” Binstock said. “It was good to battle them; they are one of the best teams in the world. We didn’t lose it, they took it.”
Jonas Reckermann and Julius Brink sent notice that they are approaching their best form with a powerful win over their European rivals Sasha Heyer and Sebastian Chevallier.
The Germans started slowly but once they found their form they raced away to win the first set. They began the second set in equally determined form and Reckermann rose high at the net to block Chevallier’s spike for the first point. They then continued in that vein to finish with a 21-14, 21-16 victory.
“We’ve won 2-0, are first in our pool and that was a convincing victory,” Reckermann said. “They won two matches before, so that was a very good win.”
“We had a pretty good start,” Brink added. “We were expecting a good team and I think we played well because they were unable to play their best. It is a good achievement to top this pool because they were four difficult teams.”
End to local hopes
Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr ended Steve Grotowski and John Garcia-Thompson’s hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages with a straight sets victory.
The Norwegians and British pairs pushed each other close in the first set and Skarlund and Spinnangr needed two match points to go one set up. In the second set though they dominated from start to finish and won 22-20, 21-13.
“I’m feeling great, it’s been amazing tournament so far,” Skarlund said. “We’re getting better and better. It was a little tough for us with 15,000 against us. We started a little rusty, but we are improving.”
It was a disappointing end for the home duo, who finish their time at Horse Guard’s Parade with three losses from three. None the less there was pride that they had competed in their home Olympics.
“This started five and a half years ago,” Grotowski said. “I knew it was going to happen, but I couldn’t imagine it would be like this. It has been a great experience; I just wish we could have done better.”
Throwing out the garbage
Jacob Gibb and Sean Rosenthal re-discovered their best form to beat Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Ruslans Sorokins in straight sets. After an opening match win, they lost their second to Poland’s Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek to leave their qualification hopes in the balance.
Against the Latvians they were dominant. Gibb took control at the net and Rosenthal was sharp in defence at the back of the court. It meant they secured a 21-10, 21-16 victory in 37minutes.
“This was a really big win for us,” Gibb said. “We played like garbage two nights ago. We really needed that confidence.”
Taking Pole position
Prudel and Fijalek finished second in Pool D though after they beat South Africa’s Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt 21-19, 21-13.
“Our season has been hard," Prudel said. "We did not practise a lot because of Grzegorz's injury (knee tendon). We did not start playing until May, so this event has not been easy.”
There was also a win for Serguei Prokopiev and Konstantin Semenov, who beat China’s Linyin Xu and Penggen Wu.
Athens 2004 silver medallist Pablo Herrera and his new partner Adrian Gavira meanwhile are aiming to help Madrid’s bid for the 2020 Olympic Games by putting in an impressive performance in London.
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.
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.
Team Ranking by Skill
Rank Team NOC Aces
1 Wu/Xu CHN 9
2 Binstock/Reader CAN 8
2 Brink/Reckermann GER 8
Rank Team NOC Blocks
1 Fijalek/Prudel POL 16
2 Rogers/Dalhausser USA 14
2 Brink/Reckermann GER 14
Rank Team NOC Attack %
1 Cunha/Ricardo BRA 63
2 Nummerdor/Schuil NED 61
3 Brink/Reckermann GER 58
3 Samoilovs/Sorokins LAT 58
Rank Team NOC Digs
1 Heyer/Chevallier SUI 68
2 Wu/Xu CHN 59
3 Semenov/Prokopyev RUS 58
Player Ranking by Skill
Rank Player NOC Points
1 Prokopyev RUS 75
2 Reckermann GER 70
2 Wu CHN 70
Rank Player NOC Aces
1 Reader CAN 7
1 Ricardo BRA 7
3 3 players tied with 5
Rank Player NOC Serve km/h
1 Sorokins LAT 99
2 5 players tied with 93
Rank Player NOC Blocks
1 Prudel POL 16
2 Reckermann GER 14
3 Dalhausser USA 13
Rank Player NOC Attack %
1 Semenov RUS 71
2 Alison BRA 66
3 Ricardo BRA 65
Rank Player NOC Digs
1 Prokopyev RUS 53
2 Chevallier SUI 52
3 Wu CHN 43
London 2012 Olympic Games - Set, Match Duration Bests and Breakdown
Game 1 29 Serguey Prokopyev/Konstantin Semenov def. Penggen Wu/Linyin Xu 29-27, 17-21, 15-12 (1:07), 8/1
Game 2 24 Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos def. Joshua Binstock/Martin Reader 21-18, 24-22 (0:48), 8/1
Game 3 16 Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego def. Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst 19-21, 21-17, 16-14 (0:58), 7/29
2-game match 85 Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera def. Petr Benes/Premysl Kubala 25-23, 21-16 (0:40), 7/29
2-game match 85 Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos def. Joshua Binstock/Martin Reader 21-18, 24-22 (0:48), 8/1
3- game match 121 Seba Chevallier/Sascha Heyer def. Serguey Prokopyev/Konstantin Semenov 28-26, 18-21, 15-13 (1:09), 7/30
3- game match 121 Serguey Prokopyev/Konstantin Semenov def. Penggen Wu/Linyin Xu 29-27, 17-21, 15-12 (1:07), 8/1
Game 1 9 Reinder Nummerdor/Rich Schuil def. Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik 21-9, 21-16 (0:34), 7/31
Game 2 10 Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Ruslans Sorokins def. Freedom Chiya/Grant Goldschmidt 21-13, 21-10 (0:34), 7/30
Game 3 7 Petr Benes/Premysl Kubala def. Kentaro Asahi/Katsuhiro Shiratori 17-21, 21-12, 15-7 (0:44), 7/31
2-game match 63 Jacob Gibb/Sean Rosenthal def. Freedom Chiya/Grant Goldschmidt 21-10, 21-11 (0:33), 7/28
3-game match 93 Petr Benes/Premysl Kubala def. Kentaro Asahi/Katsuhiro Shiratori 17-21, 21-12, 15-7 (0:44), 7/31
2-game match 0:48 Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos def. Joshua Binstock/Martin Reader 21-18, 24-22 (0:48), 8/1
3-game match 1:09 Seba Chevallier/Sascha Heyer def. Serguey Prokopyev/Konstantin Semenov 28-26, 18-21, 15-13 (1:09), 7/30
2-game match 0:33 Jacob Gibb/Sean Rosenthal def. Freedom Chiya/Grant Goldschmidt 21-10, 21-11 (0:33), 7/28
3-game match 0:44 Petr Benes/Premysl Kubala def. Kentaro Asahi/Katsuhiro Shiratori 17-21, 21-12, 15-7 (0:44), 7/31
Two Set Matches Three Set Matches
Total Matches Matches Seed Break Avg. Time Matches Seed Break Won 1st set Won 2nd set Avg. Time
30 20 6 39 min 10 4 3 7 56
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