John Hyden (right) hits the Mikasa against Brazilian Pedro Solberg (left) and American partner Ryan Doherty follows the action in the Rio Open elimination match.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 19, 2017 - Three American teams led by 40-somethings John Hyden and Jake Gibb advanced to the men’s quarter-finals after winning matches here Friday at the US$300,000 Rio Open where host Brazil secured two spots in the “elite eight” along with pairs from Italy, The Netherlands and Poland.
Being played at the tennis center located at the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca where women’s FIVB World Tour Beach Volleyball competition was being staged, the competition was held with wet and rainy conditions. The Rio Open will feature 12 men’s and women’s matches Saturday to set the schedule for Sunday’s medal matches.
The 44-year old Hyden and 16th-seeded American partner Ryan Doherty won the final match Friday under the lights by upsetting fifth-seeded Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes and Pedro Solberg of Brazil 2-1 (21-16, 17-21 23-21) in xx minutes. It was Doherty and Hyden’s second win Friday over a Brazilians pair Americans scored a 2-0 (21-19, 25-23) victory in 34 minutes over 29th-seeded qualifiers Oscar Brandao and Hevaldo Moreira.
The 41-year old Gibb teamed with 11th-seeded partner Taylor Crabb to score a 2-0 (21-17, 25-23) win in 42 minutes over 18th-seeded Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri of Italy to advance to the quarter-finals. The other American advancing to Saturday’s play was 13th-seeded Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson, who eliminated pairs from Russia and Spain in their two matches Friday.
Reigning Olympic and FIVB World champions Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and international tour leader Alvaro Filho/Saymon Barbosa earned Brazil’s two quarter-final berths with wins Friday. After Alvaro and Saymon ousted compatriots and third-seeded Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) in 39 minutes, Alison and Bruno scored a 2-0 (21-11, 21-18) win in 33 minutes over 21st-seeded Kacper Kujawiak/Mariusz Prudel of Poland.
Also advancing to the men’s quarter-finals Saturday were Alison and Bruno’s podium mates at the Rio 2016 Olympic games as fourth-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands and ninth-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy posted wins over pairs from Mexico and Canada, respectively. Alison and Bruno defeated the Dutch in the semi-finals and the Italians in the gold medal match to top the Copacabana podium last August.
The eighth quarter-final berth was filled by sixth-seeded Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland, who had to win twice Friday with an advancing 2-0 (2-17, 21-12) victory in 30 minutes over 19th-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria. Kantor and Losiak will be seeking their FIVB World Tour gold medal in Rio after winning the March 2016 Grand Slam on Copacabana by defeating Evandro and Pedro in the finals.
Here is Saturday’s quarter-finals matches with the winning teams advancing to the afternoon semi-finals. The Rio Open medal matches for both women and men will be played Sunday morning with the winning teams sharing the $20,000 first-place prizes.
• Saymon/Alvaro, vs. Lupo/Nicolai, Italy
• Kantor/Losiak Poland vs. Doherty/Hyden, United States
• Brouwer/Meeuwsen, The Netherlands vs. Brunner/Patterson, United States
• Crabb/Gibb, United States vs. Alison/Bruno, Brazil
Following the Rio Open, the next stop on the FIVB World Tour will be May 31-June 4 in Moscow for a three-star event in the Russian capital. Highlighting the 2017 international calendar for men and women Beach Volleyball players will be the $1-million FIVB World Championships July 28 through August 6 in Austria and the $800,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals August 23-27 in Hamburg, Germany.