Dollinger/Fluggen upset Pedro/Bruno at Xiamen Grand Slam
Xiamen, China, October 24, 2013 – The 15th seeded German tandem Sebastian Dollinger and Lars Fluggen pulled off an upset 2-1 win over newly crowned Sao Paulo Grand Slam champions Pedro Solberg Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil in the men’s Main Draw competitions of the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Xiamen Grand Slam here on Thursday.
Despite the loss, the second seeded Pedro/Bruno still advanced to the top 16 round with two other Brazilian teams as top finishers from respective pools.
Having an 1-1 record before Thursday’s action, Dollinger/Fluggen rallied past Pedro/Bruno 18-21, 21-18 and 15-8 in 48 minutes. In the tiebreaker, the German duo jumped to a 5-2 lead on back of Dollinger’s strong blocking performance and went on to enlarge it to 10-5, a gap the Brazilians could never close.
“It was a party of us. We played a good match, we almost made no mistake. Only in the third set there were a few mistakes. That's where we want to go to, then it doesn't matter who is on the other side of the court,” said Dollinger. “We only want to focus on ourselves; it doesn’t matter whether they are No.1 of the world or No. 30. We just play the best we can.”
Dollinger attributed the victory to their strong serving performance. “We were especially focused on our serving. We had some aces and made pressure on them every time, that's where we want to go,” he added. “Our objective is just to play every ball the best we can.”
Pedro/Bruno, Dollinger/Fluggen and Italy’s Alex Ranghieri/Andrea Tomatis shared a 2-1 win-loss record at the end of round robin pool B play while the Brazilian pair took the first place with better points ratio.
Bouncing back from Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to Russia’s Ruslan Bykanov/Yaroslav Koshkarev, third seeds Ricardo Alex Costa Santos/Alvaro Morais Filho swept Austria’s Lorenz Petutschnig/Alexander Horst 2-0 (21-14, 21-15) to finish atop of pool C.
“This game was very important for us, because we lost in the second round of pool play and this one decided who would go to the top 16 directly,” said Alvaro. “Playing one match less will be very important at the end of the tournament and we tried to do our best to win to get to top 16.”
Alvaro cherished the experience playing with Ricardo. “This season was very special for me, the first time to play with an amazing player, a legend, a hero. So I think the next season can be better, I hope so. I have learned too much from him, and it's the most important thing for my entire career.”
Alison Cerutti and Vitor Goncalves Felipe were the other Brazilian team that earned a bye in the first round of the elimination stage on Friday. Rallying past Todd Rogers/Theodore Brunner of the United States 2-1 (13-21, 21-17, 15-10), Alison/Vitor won pool G with three straight victories.
The other teams unbeaten in the pool stage were Spain’s Pablo Herrera Allepuz/Adrian Gavira Collado, Italy’s Nicolai Paolo/Daniele Lupo and Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands.
The men’s elimination rounds will start Friday morning with the semifinal and final matches scheduled for Saturday. 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 Main Draw to continue on Friday.
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.