Olsztyn, Poland, June 15, 2016 - Two teams each from Brazil and Spain advanced from Wednesday’s men’s qualifier at the US$800,000 Olsztyn Grand Slam along with pairs from Austria, Israel, Latvia and Russia.
The Brazilian qualifiers for Thursday’s opening “money” round matches feature legendary Ricardo Santos with 55 FIVB World Tour gold medal to his credit along with up-and-coming Saymon Barbosa, Gustavo “Guto” Carvalhaes and Andre Loyola as the three players won international gold medals earlier this season.
Ricardo, who saw his long-time partner Emanuel Rego retire in mid-March at the Rio Grand Slam, teamed with his second-seeded partner Loyola to post a 2-0 (21-16, 23-21) in 35 minutes over 18th-seeded Felix Koraimann and Daniel Mullner of Austria. Loyola won his title at the start of May with Oscar Brandao at the Fortaleza Open in Brazil.
The top-seeded Saymon and Guto, who topped the podium at mid-May’s Cincinnati Open in the United States, earned a spot in the Olsztyn Grand Slam Main Draw by outlasting 16th-seeded Toms Smedins and Aleksandrs Solovejs of Latvia 2-1 (26-28, 21-15, 17-15) in 50 minutes.
Spanish qualifiers Wednesday were seventh-seeded Christian Garcia/Francisco Alfredo Marco and 12th-seeded Cesar Menendez/Francisco Tomas. Garcia and Marco advanced by ousting 10th-seeded Daniel Bergerud/Lars Retterholt of Norway 2-0 (21-19, 21-13) in 31 minutes while Menendez and Tomas eliminated the fifth-seeded Poniewaz brothers (Bennet and David) of Germany 2-0 (2-13, 21-13) in 31 minutes.
Other men’s qualifiers were third-seeded Ruslan Bykanov/Yaroslav Koshkarev of Russia, fourth-seeded Sean Faiga/Ariel Hilman of Israel, sixth-seeded Rihards Finsters/Edgars Tocs of Latvia and ninth-seeded Lorenz Petutschnig/Tobias Winter of Austria.
The second annual event also features women’s competition where pool play started Wednesday with 24 group matches Thursday. The Olsztyn Grand Slam will have elimination rounds for women Friday followed by Saturday’s “final four” matches. The men’s eliminator will be Saturday followed by the medal matches Sunday. The winning teams will share the $57,000 first-place prizes.