Warsaw, Poland, June 28, 2018 – Three women’s and two men’s pairs from Brazil were among the most successful teams on the first day of main draw competition at the Warsaw four-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. A total of eight teams per gender won their pools with two victories each and booked their places in the second round of single elimination.
With the do-or-die losers’ matches scheduled for Friday, all 64 duos are still in contention.
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Three Brazilian pairs topped their pools in the women’s competition and are now looking forward to the second knockout stage on Friday. In Pool C, third-seeded Maria Antonelli and Carolina Solberg Salgado started their day with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-11) shutout of Poland’s Jagoda Gruszczynska and Aleksandra Gromadowska. They had a much tougher encounter in the winners’ leg against Dutch wild cards Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink and had to come back from a set down to emerge with a 2-1 (10-21, 21-16, 15-10) victory.
“Today was a great day for us,” Carol exclaimed. “We won our first match against Poland. The second one against the Netherlands was a crazy match. We started really bad while they were serving really well. But these things make us stronger and I am so proud and happy. We changed in the middle of the set, we became more aggressive and that put us back into the game. I love playing in Poland!”
“The World Tour is always difficult. All the teams are very professional and we need to adjust how we play against everyone and keep our eyes open for everyone. This is our job now,” Maria Antonelli added. “It is a good feeling to play for the Polish. They love volleyball and beach volleyball and I am very happy here!”
In Pool B, second-seeded Barbara Seixas De Freitas and Fernanda Alves cruised to a 2-0 (21-14, 21-12) win over Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Laura Giombini. It was a bit tougher in the winners’ match against the Czech Republic’s Kristyna Kolocova and Michala Kvapilova, but the Brazilians managed another straight-set victory – 2-0 (21-19, 21-18).
Sixth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda 'Duda' Santos Lisboa started off their Pool F campaign with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) shutout of USA’s Betsi Flint and Emily Day and followed it up with an even more emphatic 2-0 (21-13, 21-10) victory over Germany’s Karla Borger and Margareta Kozuch.
In Pool A, USA’s Brittany Hochevar and Kelly Claes upset top-seeded Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) defeat to top the standings. Another Canadian pair, fourth-seeded Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson, however, faced few issues on the way to winning Pool D with two straight-set victories. Ostrava winners Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of Czechia confirmed their good shape and mastered two 2-0 wins in Pool E.
In Pool G, Germany’s experienced Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude had to battle back from a set down against young Latvian hopefuls Anastasija Kravcenoka and Tina Graudina before emerging with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 15-12) victory and a ticket to the second round. The well-seasoned Spanish pair Liliana Fernández Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan played two three-setters to upset two higher seeded teams – 2-1 (21-18, 18-21,15-9) against Germany’s Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider and 2-1 (21-17, 11-21, 15-13) against home favourites Kinga Kolosinska and Katarzyna Kociolek.
Pool E in the men’s tournament proved to be by far the most competitive one with all three matches played on Thursday getting resolved in three sets. An all-Brazilian clash between fifth-seeded Alison Cerutti and Andre Loyola Stein and 12th-seeded Pedro Solberg and Bruno Oscar Schmidt decided the pool winner. After a spectacular extended tie-breaker, it was Alison and Andre that celebrated with a 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 17-15) victory.
Another Brazilian pair, third-seeded Vitor Goncalves Felipe and Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior, also won their pool and advanced to the second round. They survived a first set scare against Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl to disappoint the home crowd with a 2-1 (18-21, 21-16, 15-12) win.
The winners’ leg of pool play was highlighted by a dramatic all-Russian duel for the top of Pool H. Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko came back from a set down against compatriots Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin to level the match and prompt a tie-breaker that ran deep into the overtime – 2-1 (15-21, 21-18, 24-22).
“We are exhausted!” Stoyanovskiy admitted after the match. “We are done! We showed our maximum giving everything for this game. It is amazing to win such a tough game. Playing against our teammates is always so nervous and full of emotions. Now we are just happy.”
The Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner delivered a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) victory aginst top-seeded home favourites Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak in the winners’ match in Pool A. In Pool B, second-seeded Italians Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo further disappointed the Polish fans with a dramatic 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 15-13) victory over Mariusz Prudel and Jakub Szalankiewicz.
Fourth-seeded Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen took control over Pool D. Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst of Austria, seeded seventh, did the same in Pool G, but not without having to deal with a one-set deficit against Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs.
The young German tandem of Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler continued to enjoy the momentum from their excellent appearance at Ostrava and once again managed to win their pool and jump straight into the second round, upsetting Ostrava gold medalists Pablo Herrera Allepuz and Adrian Gavira Collado of Spain and Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan along the way.