Brazil’s Alison/Vitor Felipe top the pool with straight wins
After two fairly easy wins over Russia’s Pastukhov/Goncharov (21-13 21-15) and USA’s Olson/Bourne (21-12 21-15) on Thursday the Xiamen Grand Slam champions met a bit more resistance in their third and final pool match against Italy’s Matteo and Paolo Ingrosso.
The agile twins moved them around a lot, dinking the ball around Alison’s big block. The Italian pair however could not keep up in the end of both sets and the Brazilians, in their third event as a team, booked another straight win: 21-16 21-16. “Italy is a good team”, Vitor Felipe said afterwards. “There are a bit like two Brazilians, you know.”
Vitor Felipe had to adjust a bit in the beginning of the tournament on New Beach, because with Alison he has to switch from playing on the left side to the right side of court.
“After China I did not play with Alison anymore. I played with Evandro on the national tour. And this is only the second time after China that I played on the right side. But I like it, I want to learn.”
Vitor Felipe started the year playing with tall Evandro Goncalves Oliviera Junior. In August at the Berlin Grand Slam they even grabbed the gold medal. But the national federation paired him up with Alison for the events in Moscow (17th) and Xiamen. What will happen next year, he does not know. “You have to ask the boss.”
First he hopes to add a third gold medal to his career here in Durban. “Hopefully we will go to the final again. But for me the most important thing is to play my passion, beach volleyball.”
The only other team that topped the pool with three straight wins, was Brazil’s Pedro Solberg and Bruno Oscar Schmidt. World Tour leaders Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs got a bit of a scare losing one set to Polish youngsters Dawid Popek and Pawel Pelka (21-11 18-21 15-13), but topped the pool anyway with three wins.