Moscow, Russia, May 31, 2017 - Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner were the last men’s team accepted into the FIVB World Tour qualifier here Wednesday morning at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre, but the Czech Republic pair was the first team out of the afternoon preliminary rounds to advance to the Main Draw for the US$175,000 international Beach Volleyball event.
With the FIVB World Tour returning to the Russian capital for the 10th-straight season, Perusic and Schweiner gained a spot in the 24-team qualifier after a late withdrawal of a team from England. The Czech pair took advantage of their “good fortune” to advance to the “money” rounds by eliminating teams from Iran and Argentina Wednesday.
Being played alongside a women’s qualifier where a Czech Republic women’s team also qualified for the Main Draw with two wins Wednesday, the Moscow FIVB event features modified” pool play action Thursday followed by elimination rounds Friday and Saturday to set the lineup for Sunday's medal matches. The winning duos in each gender’s competition will share the $10,000 first-place prizes.
Seeded 21st in the qualifier Perusic and Schweiner opened Wednesday’s action with a 2-1 (16-21 23-21, 18-16) victory in 50 minutes over 12th-seeded Rahman Raoufi/Bahman Salemiinjehboroun of Iran followed by a 2-1 (21-18, 20-22, 15-10) win in 46 minutes over Julian Azaad/Nicolas Capogrosso of Argentina.
Joining the Czech’s with seed-break-throughs to the Main Draw were 10th-seeded Billy Allen/Stafford Slick of the United States, 15th-seeded Aliaksandr Dziadkou/Aliaksandr Kavalenka of Belarus, 20th-seeded Rihards Finsters/Edgars Tocs of Latvia and 24th-seeded Ilya Leshukov/Alexander Likholetov of Russia. Each pair posted two wins each Wednesday along with Perusic and Schweiner.
The win for the Belarus pair over the second-seeded Grimalt cousins (Esteban and Marco) of Chile was especially satisfying for Kavalenka, who has been playing on the FIVB World Tour since 1997. “It's always difficult with Chile,” said the 37-year old Kavalenka after his team posted a 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) victory in 32 minutes. “They are Olympians and a very good team. We prepared well, and we did it!”
Winning as expected were top-seeded Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg of Brazil, third-seeded Anders Mol/Christian Sorum of Norway and sixth-seeded Armin Dollinger/Jonathan Erdmann of Germany.