Men’s Pool Play at FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam starts with four upsets
São Paulo, Brazil, October 9, 2013 – Greeted by mostly sunny skies and moderate temperatures, play on the sand was hot and intense during the first of three rounds of men’s pool play that produced four major upset during Wednesday’s start of the 32-team men’s main draw pool play at the $440,000 FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam double-gender tournament as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in Brazil for the 27th consecutive year. Teams from Brazil, Chile, Italy and Norway pulled off the biggest upsets of the day.
With the second and final third round of men’s pool play Thursday, the women will play their final pool play match to determine the 24 teams in each gender who advance to Friday’s start of single elimination. For the men on Wednesday, the four top-seeded teams all won their opening matches, three in two sets as the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour resumed in South America. Following the completion of Pool Play on Thursday, the single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams in each gender begins on Friday morning.
Obviously enjoying the pleasure of playing in their home country, Brazil’s 28th-seeded Thiago Santos/Oscar Brandao upset Spain’s fifth-seeded Olympians Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira in three sets, 17-21, 21-14, 15-11 in 50 minutes to start the string of upsets. It was the first FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams as this is only the second FIVB World Tour event for Brazil’s Santos/Brandao. Closing the men’s action Wednesday, Chile’s 25th-seeded Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt needed only two sets to upset Brazil’s eighth-seeded Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves, 21-17, 21-12 in 34 minutes. Both the Brazilians and the Chileans came out of Tuesday’s qualifier to earn their main draw spots.
In between those two big upsets, Norway’s 22nd-seeded Iver Horrem/Geir Eithun defeated the Netherlands’ sixth-seeded 2013 FIVB World Champions Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen in two sets, 21-19, 22-20 in 43 minutes. Capping off the first round upsets in the battle of Italy that went three sets and lasted 51 minutes, Italy’s 27th-seeded Alex Ranghieri/Andrea Tomatis defeated their 11th-seeded 2013 Olympian compatriots Paulo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo, 14-21, 21-19, 15-13. All four teams are in the same pool and it was the second meeting between Norway and the Netherlands with the Dutch winning the first meeting in three sets and the first meeting between the two Italian teams on the FIVB World Tour.
Following Thursday’s conclusion of pool play, Friday will see the round of 24, round of 16 and quarterfinal matches in each gender as the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour has resumed in South America after a six-week respite. With the event being held for the first time in São Paulo the purpose-built site is located on the expansive grounds of Parque Villa Lobos on the west side of the massive city.
The top-seeds winning their opening matches included two teams from Brazil, along with one each from Latvia and the United States. Brazil’s top-seeded Ricardo Santos/Alvaro Filho won in two sets over Czech Republic’s Premsyl Kubala/Jan Dumek, Brazil’s second-seeded Bruno Schmidt/Pedro Salgado won in two over France’s Andy Ces/Edouard Rowlandson, Latvia’s third-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins won in two sets in 29 minutes over Puerto Rico’s Roberto Rodriguez-Beltran and USA’s fourth-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson needed three sets to defeat compatriots Nick Lucena/Ryan Doherty..
This year’s FIVB World Tour Grand Slams use a pool format. São Paulo began with a one-day qualification tournament on Tuesday to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments followed by round-robin pool play where pools of four are playing three matches each with a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams (the top three from each pool) concluding semifinals and bronze medal matches on Saturday and the gold medal matches for both genders on Sunday. The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam will each split $33,000, the silver $22,000, the bronze $16,500 and fourth place $12,900.
Brazil had one team in each gender advance from Tuesday’s qualifiers and the home country has its full allotment of five teams in each gender in the São Paulo main draw. For the men, the qualification team that advanced was Santos/Brandao. Overall, the Brazilian men’s teams opened pool play with a 4-1 record.
Brazil’s Schmidt/Salgado, lead the 2013 FIVB World Tour/FIVB Open point standings heading into the final part of the current campaign. Following their opening win Wednesday, Schmidt said, “Our goal is start well, showing our weapons since the first match. The FIVB World Tour is full of long, high-level tournaments and we are looking for something huge. This stage is the most important of the season for us. That’s why I asked the entertainment people to play our songs all the time. That’s an extra support for us and we got off to a good start today against the French team.”
Salgado also expressed his feelings following his team’s victory, saying, “This is a very important tournament for me and Bruno. We are second in the FIVB World Ranking right now, leading the FIVB World Tour points, and for sure our biggest goal this year is to finish on top this year. We know that it won’t be easy because Latvia is ahead us in the world rankings and they are a very good team. But I think Bruno and I still have a great chance. We’re playing at home and that is different. Once you have the support of the fans of your country, it makes a lot of difference. I hope we can use this to win here”
Very pleased with his team’s upset effort against Spain’s higher ranked Herrera/Gavira, Brazil’s Thiago Santos commented, “I’ve already played eight times against this Spanish team and I never lost, but this was our first time as a team. We’re in a really strong pool, so it was important to start with a win. We’ll face the Russian team that defeated us at Anapa Open quarterfinals. Now, we can have a rematch at home. Oscar had a great match today. He had great shots and helped us to change the match.”
The FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam marks the 35th time that Brazil has hosted a men’s and 30th time Brazil has hosted a women’s FIVB international beach volleyball world tour event. Brazil has staged a FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event every year since the start of the international circuit for men in 1987 and women in 1992. It is also the 295th FIVB World Tour men’s tournament and 257th women’s tournament. It is also the first time and FIVB world tour event has been held in São Paulo.
The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is comprised of 10 Grand Slam events and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Not part of the World Tour but counting towards FIVB points/earnings are five Open events (four double-gender tournaments and one women-only). The last of 10 2013 FIVB World Tour Grand Slams will be in China Oct. 22-27 at the double-gender $440,000 FIVB Xiamen Grand Slam.