Gstaad, Switzerland, July 9, 2018 - It is not often that an international beach volleyball player will participate in two matches in two different countries during a 24-hour period, but Brazilian Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes has now accomplished the feat twice in a 12-month period.
Unfortunately for the 24-year old Guto and his 43-year old partner Ricardo Santos, the feat was not completed successfully here Monday as the pair lost in the final round of the Brazilian men's country quota playoffs at the $600,000 Gstaad Major.
Receiving a first-round bye and arriving just hours before their afternoon match in the Swiss Alps village, Guto and Ricardo dropped a 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) decision in 39 minutes to compatriots Thiago Santos Barbosa/George Wanderley, who posted two wins Monday to advance to Tuesday's qualification rounds in the FIVB World Tour event.
For Guto, he was seeking to match a similar feat he accomplished last year with Pedro Solberg as that team captured a gold medal at the 2017 Porec Major in Croatia on July 2 before winning a Brazilian country quote match July 3 with a three-set win over compatriots Vitor Felipe/Wanderley.
This year, Guto and Ricardo played two matches Sunday in Portugal where the Brazilians defeated rivals Vitor/Evandro Goncalves in the Espinho Open semifinals before dropping a 2-1 (13-21, 21-19, 20-22) decision to Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins in the one-hour FIVB World tour finale.
“It's disappointing, especially the travel difficulties we had today,” said Guto. “We had a great week in Espinho, but I am so upset that we could not play better today. Playing two matches Sunday and then trying to get here did not help us. Thiago and George played great and we wish them well tomorrow.”
After losing country quota matches the last weeks in Poland (Warsaw) and Portugal (Espinho), Thiago and Wanderley rebounded with a pair of wins Monday starting with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-14, 15-12) victory in 52 minutes over Luciano Ferreira/Alvaro Filho. In Espinho, Thiago and Wanderley also defeated Luciano and Alvaro in two sets before losing to Guto and Ricardo 2-0 (21-18, 21-11) in 38 minutes.
George Wanderley (right) competes at the Gstaad Major net against Brazilian rival Ricardo Santos.
In addition to the Brazilian matches on Monday, the United States held a women’s country quota playoff where Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman posted a pair of wins over Amanda Dowdy/Irene Pollock 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 15-10) in 49 minutes and Kelly Claes/Brittany Hochevar 2-0 (21-13, 24-22) in 37 minutes.
Like Guto and Ricardo, Larsen and Stockman had their own travel issues as the American pair arrived in Gstaad at 2 am (local time) after a taxi ride from Geneva airport. Larsen and Stockman were travelling from San Francisco where the pair was competing in an American domestic event.
“It's great to win both matches today,” said Larsen, “but we still need to win a match Tuesday to qualify for the Main Draw.” Stockman, who had to withdraw early from the San Francisco event due to a minor injury, noted that she and Larsen had “no time to prepare for Monday’s matches. These are tough matches to play and tomorrow presents more challenges.”
American success for Kelley Larsen (left) and Emily Stockman
Like Guto and Ricardo, Claes and Hochevar played last week in Espinho where the Americans upset top-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan in the first elimination round last Friday before being knocked out of the FIVB World Tour event by compatriots Sarah Hughes and Summer Ross.
Emily Stockman (right) hits against American rival Kelly Claes
The main draw rounds for the Gstaad Major begin Wednesday with pool play rounds as the FIVB World Tour returns to the Swiss Alps village for the 19th-straight season. The second Beach Major Series event on the 2017-2018 FIVB World Tour calendar, the Gstaad Major concludes Saturday with the men’s final four matches and Sunday for women with the semifinal and medal matches. The winning pairs will share the $40,000 first-place prizes.