Brouwer/Meeuwsen repeat pool winning feat in Shanghai
Shanghai, China, May 2, 2013 – Dutch underdogs Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen continued their impressive run in the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball season as they claimed three matches to join big names including Sean Rosenthal/Philip Dalhausser, Pedro Solberg Salgado/Bruno Oscar Schmidt in the pool winners after the conclusion of the Shanghai Grand Slam men’s round robin play here on Thursday.
Having produced their best ever World Tour result (fifth) last week in the Fuzhou Open, Brouwer/Meeuwsen beat home hopes Wu Penggen/Wu Jiaxin 21-15 and 21-12 Thursday morning to finish at the top of pool A and advance to the 24-team knockout stage.
“We’re feeling great after winning the pool with three matches in straight sets like we did in Fuzhou. It’s a great feeling to advance to the second round,” said Brouwer.
Despite the loss, Wu/Wu also make it to the elimination round with one win against two losses.
“The Chinese team have improved already a lot if you compare it with last week so we had a much tougher match even though the set points were maybe better for us. They are playing a little bit of a harder game now,” said Meeuwsen.
Six more teams including Rosenthal/Dalhausser of the United States, Pedro/Bruno from Brazil and Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik also collected three straight wins in the group stage.
Coming from an opening loss in the first set, Rosenthal/Dalhausser rallied past Austria’s Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst 22-24, 21-18 and 15-13 to remain unbeaten in Shanghai. Leading 12-10 in the tiebreaker, Dalhausser had an unsuccessful block and a spiking error to allow the Austrians to level it at 13-all. Then Rosenthal gave the Americans the edge again with a kill before a pair of errors from Austria handed the victory to the newly crowned Fuzhou Open champions.
Erdmann/Matysik also met a tough challenge Thursday morning in their third pool match against Brazil’s Ricardo Alex Costa Santos/Alvaro Morais Filho. Trailing by 19-18 in the first set, the German duo withstood two set points to overtake the lead at 22-21. Alvaro drove the ball out of bounds to make it 22-all, but a smart dink by Erdmann and a spiking error from Alvaro gave the set to Germany.
“We made a couple of own mistakes (in the first set). Without that we could make more pressure with their defense,” said Matysik. “In the second set, we found our rhythm.” After the game resumed, Ricardo/Alvaro put up no real resistance, losing quickly at 21-13.
“We are pretty happy about the result, because last week (in Fuzhou) we lost twice against Brazil, other teams, but this time we want to make it and win the group,” said Matysik. “I think now we get the rhythm, so we're pretty happy.”
Austrian qualifiers Alexander Huber/Robin Seidl, the dark horses of the Fuzhou Open where they had an astonishing performance to finish with bronze, crashed out of the Shanghai Grand Slam after dropping their third match in a row against Brazil’s Vitor Goncalves Felipe/Evandro Goncalves Oliveira of Brazil 2-0 Thursday morning.
“We’re a little bit disappointed because we didn’t make it to the elimination round this time, because that’s obviously the good part of our game – the elimination part where we always have success,” said Huber. “It has been really tough over the two weeks, we were really tired coming into this tournament but we qualified for the main draw which was really good. After that it was just a fight and we came up short in the first two matches. That were really close matches and I think now in the third we didn’t have enough left to win.”
“In the first two matches in the Main Draw, we were so close to winning. We were already leading, but we didn’t make it,” said Seidl. “Also, with not much energy, we were really close to good teams and it gives us hope that was not just once that made third and we still can beat them. We are looking forward to Corrientes and we think we will play a good tournament there.”
The men’s elimination phase of the Shanghai Grand Slam will start on Friday with the eight pool winners having a bye in the first round.
The double gender Shanghai Grand Slam is the first of a record 10 Grand Slam events on the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar with the men’s and women’s medal matches schduled for Saturday and Sunday respectively.