With the women also competing on Polson Pier this week, the men’s two elimination rounds Saturday will set the field for Sunday’s “final four” matches. The women’s semi-finals and bronze medal matches will be played Saturday with the gender’s gold medal contest “sandwiched” between the men’s semi-finals and podium placement matches. The winning teams will share the $100,000 first-place prizes.
Reigning Olympic and FIVB world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil led the way for Friday’s successful men’s pairs as the defending SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal winners completed Pool A with a 2-0 record after defeating Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen of Mexico 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) in 33 minutes.
With the win, the Brazilians have now won eight-straight SWATCH FIVB World Tour matches, including six last October at the 2015 event in the United States where Alison and Bruno defeated Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena in the finals on Fort Lauderdale Beach in south Florida.
Combined with their opening win Wednesday over a team from Italy, Alison and Bruno earned a “bye” for the first-round of elimination Saturday. The SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals is Alison and Bruno’s first event since capturing their Olympic gold medal August 19 on iconic Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro.
Other men’s winners Friday were Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia (Pool B), Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak of Poland (Pool C) and Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk of Canada (Pool D). While the Latvian and Polish pairs were posting their second-straight win to capture their group titles to join Alison/Bruno and Americans Tri Bourne/John Hyden in the quarter-finals, Saxton and Schalk were winning their first match this week.
Samoilovs and Smedins, who entered this week’s event as the top-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour, posted a 2-0 (21-19, 21-14) win in 34 minutes over Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands. The 2013 FIVB world champions, the Dutch won the bronze medal match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Kantor and Losiak, who posted a dominating win Thursday over Dalhausser and Lucena, defeated Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter of Canada 2-0 (22-20, 21-16) in a 41-minute match Friday. Saxton and Schalk posted Canada’s men’s win this week by out-lasting Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg of Brazil 2-1 (23-21, 15-21, 15-13) in 54 minutes. The two teams also played a pool match in Rio at the Olympics with the Canadians also winning in three sets.
Here is Saturday’s elimination schedule:
Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel, Poland vs. Binstock/Schachter, Canada
Saxton/Schalk, Canada vs. Brouwer/Meeuwsen, The Netherlands
Dalhausser/Lucena, United States vs. Ontiveros/Virgen, Mexico
Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri, Italy vs. Evandro/Pedro, Brazil
Alison/Bruno, Brazil vs. Fijalek/Prudel, Poland or Binstock/Schachter, Canada
Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak Poland vs. Saxton/Schalk, Canada or Brouwer/Meeuwsen, The Netherlands
Bourne/Hyden United States vs. Dalhausser/Lucena, United States or Ontiveros/Virgen, Mexico
Samoilovs/Smedins, Latvia vs. Carambula/Ranghieri, Italy or Evandro/Pedro, Brazil