Moscow, Russia, June 2, 2017 - Two newly-formed men’s teams from Poland lead eight pairs into the men’s quarter-finals of the US$150,000 FIVB World Tour event after winning two matches each here Friday at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre.
With the Russian capital event also featuring women’s play, the Polish men’s teams 14th-seeded Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek and 24th-seeded Maciej Rudol/Jakub Szalankiewicz advanced to Saturday’s “elite eight” matches with the winning teams playing later in the day for a spot in Sunday’s medal rounds where the winning team will split the $10,000 first-place prize.
Joining the Poles in the quarter-finals will be two pairs from host Russia along with tandems from Brazil, Latvia, Spain and the United States. Rudol and Szalankiewicz will meet eighth-seeded Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin of Russia of while Bryl and Fijalek will challenge fourth-seeded Americans Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena.
Other men’s “elite eight” matches will have reigning Olympic champions and third-seeded Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt meeting top-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia while 10th-seeded and 2015 Moscow champions Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira of Spain face 15th-seeded Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin of Russia.
Playing in their fourth event this season after placing 25th, third and 17th in their first three starts in the United States, China and Brazil, Rudol and Szalankiewicz opened play with a 2-0 (24-22, 21-15) win in 35 minutes over 32nd-seeded qualifiers Ilya Leshukov/Alexander Likholetov of Russia before ousting sixth-seeded qualifiers Pedro Solberg/Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes of Brazil 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 15-12) in 49 minutes
are very happy,” said Szalankiewicz after his match with the Brazilians. “It is the first time ever that I beat Pedro,
he is a good player, so I couldn't be happier.
I think our serving helped us and we defended a lot of balls. Being in the last eight is great as we have
to do well here, if not, we don't qualify for the world championships."
Bryl and Fijalek, who are playing in their third event this year after finishing fifth in Fort Lauderdale and 25th in Rio, eliminated 18th-seeded Martins Plavins/Haralds Regza of Latvia 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) in 31 minutes and 25th-seeded qualifiers Christian Sorum and Anders Mol of Norway 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) in 36 minutes.
Also winning two matches Friday were Samoilovs/Smedins and Krasilnikov/Liamin. The other four quarter-final participants had to play only one match Friday. For Alison and Bruno, the Brazilians will be seeking a spot in a Moscow finale for the second-straight year after dropping the 2016 gold medal match in three sets to Dutchmen Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst.
Samoilovs and Smedins, who captured a gold medal at the 2015 FIVB World Tour stop in Moscow, defeated 29th-seeded compatriot Rihards Finsters/Edgars Tocs 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 15-8) in 44 minutes and advanced to the “elite eight” by out-lasting 12th-seeded Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson of the United States 2-1 (30-32, 21-14, 15-10) in 49 minutes.
Krasilnikov, who topped the 2014 Moscow podium with Konstantin Semenov after defeating Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel in the finals, posted wins Friday over fifth-seeded Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola of Brazil 2-1 (17-21, 21-18, 15-7) in 48 minutes and 17th-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria 2-0 (21-19, 21-8) in 30 minutes.
Following the Moscow stop, the FIVB World Tour takes a week off before resuming play June 15-18 for a “three-star” $150,000 event in The Netherlands at The Hague. Highlighting the 2017 international calendar for men and women Beach Volleyball players will be the $1-million FIVB World Championships July 28 through August 6 in Vienna, Austria and the $800,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals August 23-27 in Hamburg, Germany. Overall, there are 15 men’s and 19 women’s events on the $5.335-million FIVB World Tour schedule.