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Prague Open | Men
  17/05/2011 - 22/05/2011

USA and Brazil secure spot in Prague semifinals

Brazil's Alison hugging teammate Emanuel (front) after an mentally draining match against compatriots Marcio and Ricardo. Last year's silver medalists Alison/Emanuel won 23-21, 21-23, 16-14, securing a spot in the semifinals.
Prague, Czech Republic, May 20, 2011 - Americans Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers and Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego secured a spot in the Prague Open semifinals. The other two contenders in the final four will appear Saturday when the last two rounds of the loser’s bracket are played.

The teams still in the running are Switzerland's Sascha Heyer/Sebastian Chevallier, Marcio/Ricardo and Cunha/Pedro from Brazil, Latvia's Petr Benes/Premysl Kubala and Martins Plavins/Janis Smedins and Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira from Spain.

The semifinals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour men’s only Prague Open will be played Saturday afternoon.

Olympic champions Dalhausser and Rogers, who won the Prague Open last year, first defeated local heroes Benes and Kubala. The Czech team put up a good fight on centre court in front of their home audience, losing eventually 21-19 21-19 in 43 minutes. “We did not expect to win”, Benes said afterwards. “But we wanted to put up a good fight, make it hard for the Americans. I felt that we did that.” Benes and Kubala still have a chance to make it to the semifinals after beating Russia 2-1 in a close game in the loser’s bracket, already reaching their pre-tournament goal: doing better than last year’s 17th place.

Record-breaking Dalhausser and Rogers went on beating Swiss qualifiers Heyer and Chevallier in the fourth round, coming from behind in the first set but really making a difference thanks to superb blocking by Dalhausser in the second (21-18 21-16). The Americans can prolong their men’s record of winning seven World Tour event titles straight and are also still on a unbeaten streak of a record 39 matches, but say they are not feeling any pressure. “We have already accomplished everything”, Dalhausser said. “The records are just the cherry on top of the cake.“ He admitted that after 19 gold medals on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour and winning the World Championships (2007) and the Olympics (2008) it is sometimes hard to get motivated. “Especially in the first rounds, but it is always fun to play the top teams. And it still pays the bills.”

Second seeded and last year’s silver medalists Alison/Emanuel advanced to the last four by beating Spain’s Gavira/Herrera 2-0 (21-17 21-15) in 35 minutes and fellow countrymen and third seeded Marcio/Ricard. The last match was excitingly close, giving the centre court audience what they came to see. Alison and Emanuel failed to secure the game in the second set and trailed behind in the third, both feeling the pressure and playing nervously. Alison’s blocking put them back in the game eventually, winning 23-21, 21-23 and 16-14 in a thrilling one hour and seven minutes. “I am really feeling mentally tired now”, Emanuel admitted afterwards. “We won with a little bit of luck, it could have gone both ways.”

Lucky losers Matteo and Paolo Ingrosso are out of the tournament, finishing ninth. The Italian twins were sent home by Cunha/Pedro. Only remaining qualifiers in the main draw are the new Swiss team Heyer/Chevallier, only playing their second tournament together, but already certain of at least a fifth place in Prague.

The medal matches of the $190,000 Prague Open will be played on Sunday. The winners will split $30,000, while the silver medalists receive $21,000 and third place is rewarded with $15,000.

The Prague Open is the first men’s only tournament of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour 2011. The women are currently competing in the $190,000 Myslowice Open in Poland. In two weeks the Swatch World Tour will continue in China with the $600,000 Grand Slam Beijing Open.   
More press releases
22/05/2011 Brazil’s Alison and Emanuel capture gold in Prague
21/05/2011 Alison/Emanuel and Dalhausser/Rogers play for gold in Prague
20/05/2011 USA and Brazil secure spot in Prague semifinals
19/05/2011 Brazilian teams remain unbeaten in Prague Open main draw
18/05/2011 Top qualification seeds knocked out of Prague Open
18/05/2011 Brink/Reckermann withdraw from Prague Open
17/05/2011 Jennings/Wong advance to qualification in Prague
16/05/2011 Legend Ahmann has eye on Rosenthal/Gibb for Prague honours
11/05/2011 Who will stop Dalhausser/Rogers in Prague?
8/02/2011 Prague to host only single-gender men's event of 2011
27/01/2011 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour calendar finalised