Pedro Solberg (left) blocks against Brazilian rival Andre Loyola as Alison Cerutti looks on during the Saturday match at the Vienna Major
Vienna, Austria, August 4, 2018 - Three weeks after failing to advance a team to the quarterfinals at the Gstaad Major in Switzerland, beach volleyball power Brazil earned two spots in the men’s elite eight here on Saturday morning at the A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch.
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The South American pairs of 10th-seeded Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves and 12th-seeded Bruno Oscar Schmidt/Pedro Solberg advanced to the quarterfinals at the $600,000 Vienna Major after placing 25th and ninth, respectively, at the Gstaad Major.
European teams from Austria, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland also advanced to the Vienna Major quarterfinals along with pairs from Qatar and the United States as the four elite eight matches will be played on Saturday afternoon to set the lineup for Sunday’s semifinals and medal matches where the winning team will share the $40,000 first-place prize.
By defeating 11th-seeded Brazilian rivals Alison Cerutti/Andre Loyola 2-0 (21-12, 21-18) in 35 minutes in an opening match on Saturday morning, Bruno and Pedro will play 14th-seeded Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek of Poland in the first men’s semifinals.
“I think we did everything pretty well and that’s what you need to beat a team as strong as Alison and Andre," said Pedro after the match. "We had an inconsistent start here, but we’re growing. We stuck together in the hard times and that helped us to go through them. Now we face a tough Polish team and we’ll try to explore their weaknesses. I’ve been playing against Fijalek for ages now and he’s one of the best all-around players I’ve ever seen, while Bryl is very physical, but they certainly have some flaws, as we all do.”
The Polish pair advanced with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) win in 33 minutes. minutes over 18th-seeded Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin of Russia. Bryl and Fijalek will be playing the Brazilians for the first-time on the FIVB World Tour as Bruno and Pedro reformed their partnership at the end of May with the Vienna Major being their fifth event together this season.
Evandro and Felipe, who also formed their partnership in late May, will play fifth-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands. The Brazilians posted a 2-1 (21-16, 17-21, 15-12) win in 51 minutes over 17th-seeded Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs of Latvia while the Dutch eliminated top-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena of the United States 2-1 (26-28, 24-22, 15-10) in 70 minutes.
Against Nick and Phil it’s always tough battles and I think we lose more than we win," said Meeuwsen as his team won for only the second time in six meetings with the Americans. "With all the heat, it becomes a very mental game and we just kept fighting. It’s a great feeling to win a match like this especially because we had a convincing performance in the third set. That gives us a lot more confidence to keep going.”
Nick Lucena (left) of the United States waits for the Mikasa after an attack by Dutchman Robert Meeuwsen
The other two quarterfinal matches will feature 24th-seeded qualifiers Cherif Samba/Ahmed Tijan of Qatar against 13th-seeded qualifiers Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb of the United States and third-seeded Anders Mol/Christian Sorum of Norway against eighth-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria.