Paris, France, June 22, 2007 - Only three of the top eight-seeded men’s Beach Volleyball teams in the US$600,000 Henkel Grand Chelem survived pool play here Friday as the first of five “major” events on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour continues with single-elimination play through Sunday.
Being played within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower on the Champs de Mars, two Brazilian teams and one American tandem lead the 24-team field into the elimination bracket in the third of 13 double gender events on the 2007 SWATCH schedule.
Advancing unbeaten from pool play for Brazil were Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos (Pool K) and seventh-seeded Marcio Araujo/Fabio Magalhaes (Pool P), the defending Henkel Grand Chelem champions. Both teams have finished the past two seasons as the top-ranked tandems on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour. Emanuel and Ricardo have been the international leaders since the 2003 season.
Top-seeded Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal leads four American tandems into the single-elimination rounds as the pair captured Pool J to remain in contention for their second-straight the Henkel Grand Chelem gold medal appearance. Gibb has played in the first two Henkel Grand Chelem finals as he claimed to the silver medal in 2005 with Stein Metzger.
Joining Gibb and Rosenthal as American pool winners to receive first-round “byes” in the single-elimination bracket were 12th-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers (Pool N) and 14th-seeded Mike Lambert/Stein Metzger (Pool L).
Other teams winning pools Friday morning were European tandems from Austria, Italy and Switzerland as the three teams joined Dalhausser/Rogers and Lambert/Metzger in beating out higher-seeded teams for the group leadership.
Eleventh-seeded Patrick Heuscher/Sascha Heyer of Switzerland (Pool O), 20th-seeded Clemens Doppler/Peter Gartmayer Austria (Pool M) and 24th-seeded Ricardo Lione/Matteo Varnier of Italy (Pool Q) also earned “byes” in the first-round of elimination bracket. Heuscher won the inaugura Henkel Grand Chelem gold medal with Stefan Kobel in 2005.
Failing to advance from pool play was fifth-seeded Nummerdor and Richard Schuil, who dropped all three of their matches this week, including an 18-21, 25-22 and 15-11 decision to Dalhauser and Rogers Friday morning. Winners of the SWATCH Bahrain stop last month, the Dutch also dropped matches to teams from Spain and Switzerland.
Playing in only their second SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event since the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the Laciga brothers (Martin and Paul) won two of three matches in their pool to advance to the elimination bracket with an opening meeting with 19th-seeded Jonas Reckermann and Mischa Urbatzka of Germany.
In securing a spot in the elimination bracket, the Lacigas became the second team this weekend and fifth overall to surpass the $1-million mark in FIVB earnings. The Swiss brothers are competing in their 119th FIVB event this week with $1,001,170 in earnings.
Emanuel and Ricardo ($1,292,730) top the men’s list as three women’s team has achieved the million-dollar mark, including Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca. The young Brazilian women passed the coveted figure Thursday and are still competing this weekend.