Brazil's Saymon Barbosa (yellow) sends the Mikasa towards Israel's Sean Faiga
Maceió, Brazil, February 23, 2016 - After the three Brazilian women’s teams swept through the qualifier with a combined 4-0 match mark here Tuesday in the $150,000 Maceió Open, the four men’s pairs from the South American country in the preliminary were also perfect on the Pajuçara by winning all six of their contests.
Veteran Harley Marques and Ricardo Santos were the only Brazilian men’s tandem seeded among the top eight pairs in the 20-team qualifier as the oldest team in the Maceió Open advanced to Wednesday’s Main Draw by eliminating the Turkish pair.
With both Harley and Ricardo being 41-year olds, the Brazilians have more than 400 combined starts on the FIVB World Tour. The 11th-seeded Hasan Mermer and Sefa Urlu had a combined age of 43 with less than 15 international events to their credit.
The end result was a 2-1 (21-13, 18-21, 18-16) win in 52 minutes for Harley and Ricardo as the Brazilians rallied from a 10-8 deficit to take an 11-10 lead in the third set. Mermer and Urlu had two match points in the deciding set, but Harley and Ricardo scored the last three points of the contest.
“That match was not easy after the first set,” said Harley, who is playing in his first FIVB World Tour event since 2012. “The Turks were very nervous in the first set as I think our experience and longevity on the tour got to them initially. After the first set, they played extremely well. We were able to capitalize on their mistakes to get back into the match.”
The Turks agreed about “being nervous,” according to the 21-year old Mermer. “We had an opportunity to beat two of the all-time greats in beach volleyball. Unfortunately, we could not finish out the match. Ricardo is a monster at the net and Harley impressed us with his serving and defense.”
Other Brazilian pairs qualifying Tuesday for Wednesday’s Main Draw were 10th-seeded Saymon Barbosa/Gustavo Carvalhaes, 19th-seeded Bruno de Paula/Hevaldo Moreira and 21st-seeded Thiago Santos Barbosa/George Wanderley.
Two teams from Austria also advanced to the “money rounds” along with pairs from Russia and Venezuela. Top-seeded Christoph Dressler/Thomas Kunert and 15th-seeded Martin Ermacora/Moritz Pristauz-Telsnigg were the Austrian qualifiers along with eighth-seeded Dmitri Barsouk/Nikita Liamin of Russia and 20th-seeded Jhonatan Golindano/Peter Hernandez of Venezuela.
Cooperation for Austria's Thomas Kunert (left) and Christoph Dressler
The four qualifying Brazilian tandems join compatriots Evandro Gonçalves/Pedro Solberg, Álvaro Filho/Vitor Felipe and Andre Loyola/Oscar Brandão in the “money rounds” of the sixth FIVB World Tour event on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour calendar. The Maceió Open is also the first of three March stops for the international circuit in Brazil as the world’s best players also compete in Rio de Janeiro (March 8-13) and Vitoria (March 15-20).