London, Great Britain, August 4, 2012 – Jacob Gibb and Sean Rosenthal showed the form that has led them to win four medals on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour this year as they beat Russia’s Serguei Prokopiev and Konstantin Semenov in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Americans appeared as though they didn’t want to stay late into the London night and quickly wrapped up the first set. In the second set though the Russians put up a stronger challenge, but it was Gibb and Rosenthal who managed to get to match point. They let slip the first one, but made no mistake with the second to win 21-14, 22-20.
The result means they have now matched their quarter-final finish from Beijing 2008.
“It felt so exciting, it’s been a long three days since our last match,” Gibb said. “Sean came up with some big points on the last two or three points.”
“It’s great to get back to the quarter-finals, “Rosenthal added. “We’re a good team and it has been a long four years to get back here. Now we can rest, then we’ll come out firing on Monday.”
World champion form
Former FIVB world champions Jonas Reckermann and Julius Brink rolled back the years as they advanced to the quarter-finals with a slick win over Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Ruslans Sorokins, 21-12, 21-17.
Despite a year that has been interrupted by Reckermann’s shoulder injury the 2009 world champions had too much in their armoury for the Latvian duo at Horse Guard’s Parade. Reckermann enjoyed a tight contest with Samoilovs at the net, but came off best, while Brink swept up at the back of the court anytime the Latvians found a way past Reckermann.
The Germans dominated the opening set and appeared to be running away with the second until Sorokins and Samoilovs began a fight back that took them to within three points until Brink won the match with a powerful spike.
“We played a pretty good pool stage and won all our matches, but in single elimination it is totally different,” Reckermann said. “We can be proud with how we played today. Our serve was good and we were able to put a lot of pressure on them and win points with our serve.”
Dutch duo Richard Schuil and Reinder Nummerdor made light work of reaching the quarter-finals with a 21-20, 21-15 win over Athens 2004 bronze medallist Patrick Heuscher and Jefferson Bellaguarda.
In the first set the sides were evenly matched and the Swiss had set point at 20-19. However, the Dutch saved it and were then merciless when they had a set point of their own. A powerful Schuil spike gave them the opening set.
The second continued in the same vein as the first, but eventually the Dutch took control of the match and raced away to wrap up the victory with another Schuil spike.
“In the first set they played well, but the second set was pretty easy,” Schuil said. “Now we are playing the Italians (Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai) and they are playing well, so it will be a tough match.”
World champs move up the gears
FIVB world champions Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti continued their unbeaten run through the competition as they knocked out German team Kay Matysik and Jonathan Erdmann.
“We feel great and we played well today,” Emanuel said. “We are very happy and it was a hard match against the Germans. It was emotional to hear 15,000 people shouting and cheering.”
Bitter sweet victory
Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai were allowed to rest their tired bodies after they eliminated defending Olympic gold medallist Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser on Friday. They were also able to reflect on what the victory means to them.
“For me Phil and Todd are my favourite team,” Lupo said. “When I started to play beach volleyball I wanted to be like them. To beat them is great, but I’m a little bit sad about it. It would have been great to have beaten them later in the tournament.”
In London the teams were divided equally into six pools of and the teams played each other once in their group. The top two advanced to the single-elimination knockout phase that began on August 3 along with the two best third-placed teams. The remaining four third-place teams competed in playoff matches to determine which pairs filled 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.
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