Italian & Russian men challenge Brazilians for Porec Major gold

Porec, Croatia, July 1, 2017 - Italian veterans Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai and Russian youngsters Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin will challenge two Brazilian pairs for the Porec Major medals after the four teams from the three countries won two matches each at the $600,000 Porec Major here Saturday.

With the FIVB World Tour returning to the Croatia seaside resort for the third-straight season, fifth-seeded Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and ninth-seeded qualifiers Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg of Brazil will be meeting the Italians and Russians, respectively, in Sunday’s semi-finals.

The defending Porec Major gold medal and the reigning Olympic/world champions, Alison and Bruno have won three-straight elimination matches over pairs from Austria, Spain and the United States to reach their 22nd World Tour semi-final in 35 FIVB events. One of the Brazilians’ wins was over Lupo and Nicolai in the gold medal match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games last August on Copacabana.

In quest of their 13th FIVB World Tour gold medal, Alison and Bruno out-lasted 10th-seeded Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira of Spain 2-0 (21-17, 34-32) in 52 minutes to open play Saturday before posting a 2-0 (21-12, 21-19) quarter-final win in 32 minutes over 16th-seeded Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson of the United States.

Brazilian Olympic & world champion Alison Cerutti hits the Mikasa Saturday at the Porec Major

Lupo and Nicolai, who have defeated Alison and Bruno four times in 10 FIVB meetings, advanced to their 20th FIVB semifinal in 64 FIVB events with wins over Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia 2-1 (21-12, 14-21, 15-11) in 42 minutes and Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb of the United States 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 15-11) in 52 minutes.

Guto and Solberg, who had to win country quota and qualifying matches Monday and Tuesday, will be playing in their first FIVB semi-final in five World Tour starts together this season. The Brazilians netted wins over third-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena of the United States 2-0 (21-10, 21-17) in 31 minutes and 18th-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) in 34 minutes.

After benefitting from a forfeit win over 11th-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands to open play Saturday, the 20-year old Stoyanovskiy and 21-year old Yarzutkin earned their third World Tour semifinal appearance in 23 FIVB starts with a 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 17-15) quarter-final win in 55 minutes over 25th-seeded qualifiers Maciej Rudol/Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland.


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