Italian men win “battle of Olympic pairs” at Rio Open

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 18, 2017 - With 11 men’s Beach Volleyball pairs from the Rio Olympic Games returning to city where the 2016 Summer Games were staged, one of the two matches here Thursday at the US$300,000 Rio Open pitting teams from Copacabana conclave against each other was won by Italians Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri.

With their 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) Pool B win in 38 minutes over 15th-seeded Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen of Mexico, the 18th-seeded Italians will now play their second-straight Rio Open match against an Olympic pair later Thursday afternoon.  This time, Carambula and Ranghieri challenge second-seeded Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil, the Rio 2016 Olympic champions.

While Carambula and Ranghieri have now won all three of their FIVB World Tour matches with the Mexicans, the Italians have never defeated Alison and Bruno in eight international contests.  One of the setbacks was at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when the Brazilians posted a two-set win over Carambula and Ranghieri.  A month later in the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto, Canada, Alison and Bruno captured the eighth win in the series with the Italians.

Alison and Bruno, who are seeking their 12th FIVB World Tour with the Rio Open being their 33rd international start together with over $1-million in earnings as a team, opened play Thursday with a mid-day 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) win in 37 minutes over 3stt-seeded qualifiers Sean Faiga and Ariel Hilman of Israel.

Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil

The other match between Rio 2016 Olympic teams saw seventh-seeded Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera of Spain defeating 26th-seeded qualifiers Esteban and Marco Grimalt of Chile 2-1 (21-18, 14-21, 15-12) in 46 minutes.  Gavira and Herrera have now won three of four FIVB World Tour matches with the Chilean cousins.

Other Rio Olympic pairs competing in this week FIVB World Tour stop are fourth-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands, sixth-seeded Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak of Poland, eighth-seeded Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk of Canada, ninth-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy, 19th-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria and 22nd-seeded Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen of Germany.

Joining Carambula/Ranghieri and Alison/Bruno as first-round winners were the Brazilians’ Rio Olympic podium participates Lupo/Nicolai and Brouwer/Meeuwsen.  Alison and Bruno defeated Lupo and Nicolai for the gold medal last August on Copacabana with the Dutch pair rebounding from a semi-final setback to the Brazilians to win the bronze spot on the podium.


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