Porec, Croatia, June 29, 2017 - Five countries are the sole leaders of their men’s pools after the completion here Thursday of the second of three rounds of group play in the $600,000 Porec Major as the Swatch Major Series event returns to the Croatian seaside resort for the third-straight season.
Leading the way is four-time Olympian Pablo Herrera and his Spanish partner Adrian Gavira as the 10th-seeded pair posted their second win of the competition Thursday with a 2-1 (21-23, 21-19, 20-18) Pool G win in 56 minutes over 23rd-seeded qualifiers and German Olympians Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen.
Herrera, who celebrated his 35th birthday Thursday, and Gavira opened play Wednesday by defeating seventh-seeded Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin of Russia 2-1 (21-23, 21-18, 18-16) in a 53-minute Pool G win. Two weeks ago in the Netherlands, Krasilnikov and Liamin defeated the Spaniards for the FIVB World Tour gold medal in The Hague.
To clinch the Pool G title and earn a bye for the first round of Porec Major elimination, Herrera and Gavira must defeat 26th-seeded qualifiers Lorenz Schumann/Julius Thole of Germany or have the Russians drop their final group match to Bockermann/Fluggen.
Other teams alone atop their group with 2-0 match records are ninth-seeded qualifiers Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg of Brazil (Pool G), 11th-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands (Pool F), 13th-seeded Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek of Poland and 18th-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria (Pool B).
Alexander Horst (left) celebrates a win over Latvia Thursday with Austrian partner Clemens Doppler
Two groups have two teams tied for the leadership with 2-0 records, including Pool A (top-seeded Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho of Brazil and 16th-seeded Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson of the United States) and Pool E (fifth-seeded Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil and 12th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy).
The Pool E finale will be of interest since Alison and Bruno defeated Lupo and Nicolai 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) in the 44-minute gold medal match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. It was the last meeting between the two teams as Alison and Bruno lead the FIVB World Tour series between the two teams 6-3 with five-straight victories.
Four teams are tied for the Pool C leadership where the Canadian pairs of 14th-seeded Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk and 19th-seeded Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter are deadlocked with 1-1 records with third-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena of the United States and 30th-seeded Robin Seidl/Tobias Winter of Austria.