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Ranghieri/Tomatis lead eight teams into Xiamen Grand Slam men’s Main Draw

Italy's Andrea Tomatis and Alex Ranghieri celebrate after clinching Xiamen Grand Slam men's Main Draw berth.

Xiamen, China, October 22, 2013 – Top seeded qualifiers Alex Ranghieri and Andrea Tomatis of Italy rallied past Chinese newcomers Ha Likejiang/Bao Jian 2-1 here Tuesday afternoon to lead eight teams into the men’s Main Draw of the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Xiamen Grand Slam.

Dropping the first set 21-16 against the Chinese duo, who earned a hard fought 2-1 (17-21, 21-14, 15-12) victory over Poland’s Pawel Pelka/Dawid Popek in a first-round qualification match Tuesday morning, Ranghieri/Tomatis surged back strongly for an astonishing 21-9 win in the second set. It was tied 11-all in the tie-breaker before the Italian pair ran off four of the next five points to complete the come-from-behind victory in 46 minutes.

“It was a really tough match. They played a great game, they are a great team. We didn't know them, because they didn't play international tournament. They were a new team for us,” said Tomatis. “They played really good jump serving while we didn't play that good especially in the first set. And the second one was really good for us, we focused on our goal, we did very well and the third one was tough as well. So I am very happy for this win because it was a hard one.”

“We had a really bad start, but I had to say they played a very good first set and the result was fair I think,” he added. “In the second one the tall guy he played a little bit worse and he made a couple of mistakes that gave us confidence and we came back strong.”

Finishing ninth together in the Sao Paulo Grand Slam two weeks ago, Ranghieri/Tomatis eyed another impressive result here in Xiamen.

“We were in the ninth place two weeks ago in Sao Paolo, we want to keep going. We need another good result to be in the Main Draw next year so we really want to do well,” said Tomatis. “The windy condition is not perfect for us, because we are two tall guys and we still don't play really good in windy conditions. We have to work a lot in this tournament.”

The only major upset of the day was produced by Australia’s 15th seeded qualifiers Damien Schumann/Joshua Court, who took only 33 minutes to send packing second seeded Christian Redmann/Maverick Hatch of Canada with a surprisingly easy 2-0 (21-12, 21-14) win.

Two teams from France have earned Main Draw berths from the 18-team qualification tournament as Andy Ces/Edouard Rowlandson beat China’s Li Zhouxin/Zhang Lizeng 21-16 and 21-17 while Yannick Salvetti/Jean-Baptiste Daguerre swept Austria’s Thomas Kunert/Christoph Dressler 21-18 and 21-11.

Other teams making it to the 32-team men’s Main Draw, which is scheduled to start on Wednesday, are Eric Koreng/Finn Dittelbach (Germany), Kotsilianos Georgios/Zoupani Nikos (Greece), William Montgomery/Stafford Slick (USA) and Peter Eglseer/Felix Koraimann (Austria).

Thirty-two teams will play a single round robin in eight groups with top three finishers from each group to advance to the 24-team knockout stage.

The double gender Xiamen Grand Slam is the last of a record 10 Grand Slam events on the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar with the women’s Qualification Tournament scheduled for Wednesday.

China has hosted more than 23 women’s and 14 men’s tournaments on the FIVB World Tour, but this is the first visit for an FIVB international beach volleyball event in the city of Xiamen. The event in Xiamen is one of three FIVB international beach volleyball events being held in China this year. The first was the 2013 FIVB Open tournament held in Fuzhou on April 23 to 28, followed by the Shanghai Grand Slam, which took place from April 30 to May 5, 2013.

With a guaranteed purse of US$120,000, the bonus pool will push the total purse for the event to nearly $220,000.

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