Italians guaranteed Vitória Open men’s medal, seek semifinal success
• Vitória Open website
• Qualification - Men
• Qualification - Women
• Main draw - Men
• Main draw - Women
The 13th-seeded Lupo and Nicolai, who advanced to only their second FIVB World Tour semifinal since August 2014, will play fourth-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands in the first of two men’s semifinals Saturday evening followed by the ninth-seeded Carambula and Ranghieri challenging top-seeded Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil.
SECOND TIME TWO ITALIAN TEAMS IN FIVB SEMIFINALS TOGETHER
With the Vitoria Open being the 336th men's event on the FIVB World Tour since the start of international-sanctioned events in 1987, Italy had only once advanced two teams to the semifinals. The first time was at the end of July 1989 when Giovanni Errichiello/Dionisio Lequaglie and Franco Bertoli/Fabio Vullo placed second and fourth, respectively, at a stop in Jesti, Italy.
Lupo and Nicolai were the first Italians to win Saturday with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 15-10) win in 44 minutes over 10th-seeded Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera of Spain. It was the third-straight win for the Italians over Gavira and Herrera as the two teams had split six matches between them on the FIVB World Tour.
“Great day so far for Italy,” said Ranghieri after his 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) win in 36 minutes with Carambula over third-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst of the Netherlands. “The afternoon successes do not guarantee evening accomplishments as we have to prepare for two very good teams that have World Championship gold medals to their credit.” Carambula and Ranghieri are now 2-0 against Nummerdor and Varenhorst, who finished second at the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Hague.
WORLD CHAMPIONS IN ACTION
Brouwer and Meeuwsen, the 2013 FIVB world champions, will be meeting the Italians for the second time this week as Lupo and Nicolai posted a 2-1 (13-21, 22-20, 19-17) pool play win in 50 minutes over the Dutch Thursday. Saturday’s semifinal meeting will be the 11th between both teams on the FIVB World Tour with the series tied 5-5.
To reach the semifinals, Brouwer and Meeuwsen ousted 11th-seeded Markus Böckermann/Lars Flüggen of Germany 2-1 (21-12, 18-21, 15-13) in a 47-minute quarterfinal match. It was the Dutch’s third win in four meetings with Böckermann and Flüggen.
With the Brazilians guaranteed a spot in the semifinals, reigning FIVB world champions Alison and Bruno eliminated 28th-seeded qualifiers and compatriots Saymon Barbosa and Guto Carvalhaes 2-0 (21-17, 21-13) in 34 minutes. The world champs are now 2-1 against Saymon and Guto, who upset Alison and Bruno last September at the Rio Open on Copacabana.
Saturday’s schedule will also feature women’s semifinal matches. The medal matches for both genders will be played Sunday where the winning pairs will split the $11,000 first-place prize along with earning 500 Olympic qualifying points.
The early season FIVB World Tour swing through Brazil concludes with the Vitória Open after previous stops in Maceio (February 23-28) and on iconic Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro (March 8-13). Following the Vitória Open, the FIVB World Tour will take a two-week break before resuming action for the April 4-8 men’s-only event in Doha, Qatar.
Before returning to Brazil for the Fortaleza Open at the end of April, two double-gender events will be staged in China at Xiamen (April 12-17) and Fuzhou (April 19-24).