Evandro Goncalves (left) blocks against Dutchman Robert Meeuwsen in an evening match Thursday at the FIVB World Tour Finals at the Foro Italico in Rome as he and Brazilian partner Bruno Oscar Schmidt posted two pool play wins to win their group.
Rome, Italy, September 5, 2019 - The next to last men’s match on Thursday evening at the $600,000 FIVB World Tour Finals was billed the battle of world championships as Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Bruno Oscar Schmidt out-lasted Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen in three sets on the Foro Italico centre court.
Seeded 10th in Pool G, Evandro and Bruno posted a 2-1 (21-15, 18-21, 15-12) win in 50 minutes over the seventh-seeded Brouwer and Meeuwsen to capture the group title and advance to the second round of Friday’s elimination bracket schedule with a bye.
It was the first meeting on the FIVB World Tour between the two teams. Brouwer and Meeuwsen won their world title in 2013 in Poland while Bruno and Evandro captured the 2015 and 2017 crowns in the Netherlands (Bruno with Alison Cerutti) and Austria (Evandro with Andre Loyola), respectively.
“It was a great match with two very good teams at this fantastic centre court,” said Evandro after the meeting with the Dutch. “It was a really mental game for us after losing the second set due to some foolish mistakes and remaining patient and getting back into the game. It’s important to get to the Round of 16, but there’s a lot we still need to do here, and I hope we can improve from here.”
Evandro added “we found a way to win this match. I think we lost our focus a bit in the second set and at this level it can’t happen. I’m very happy that my serve was efficient in a way it hasn’t been in a while today and I believe this can help us a lot going forward. Bruno played a great match too, pretty much all the serves went his way and he managed to side out even when my sets weren’t great.”
Both the Brazilians and Dutch won their first match Thursday with Evandro and Bruno posting a 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) victory in 44 minutes over 23rd-seeded Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain, and Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen posting a 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) victory in 32-minutes over 26th-seeded qualifiers Martin Ermacora/Moritz Pristauz-Telsnigg of Austria.
Also winning group titles as expected on Thursday were second-seeded Anders Mol/Christian Sorum of Norway (Pool B), third-seeded and reigning world champions Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Oleg Stoyanovskiy of Russia (Pool C) and fifth-seeded Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler of Germany (Pool E).
Posting seed-break-throughs to advance to the second round of elimination were 17th-seeded Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb of the United States (Pool A), 13th-seeded Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner of the Czech Republic (Pool D), 11th-seded Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs of Latvia (Pool F) and 25th-seeded Steven van de Velde/Christiaan Varenhorst of the Netherlands (Pool H).