Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 11, 2018 - Beach volleyball pairs from China, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Russia, Spain and the United States each won their third pool play match here Wednesday to clinch pool titles to earn first-round byes when elimination bracket competition starts Saturday at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
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Headlining the winners on Wednesday were the men's teams of second-seeded Denis Shekunov/Dmitrii Veretiuk of Russia (Pool B) and 30th-seeded Filip John/Lukas Pfretzschner of Germany (Pool C) and the women's tandems of ninth-seeded Daniela Alvarez/Tania Moreno of Spain (Pool H) and 16th-seeded Devon Newberry/Lindsey Sparks of the United States (Pool A).
Shekunov and Veretiuk are the reigning FIVB under-19 world champions after the Russians defeated John and Pfretzschner 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) in the 35-minute finale on July 15 in Nanjing, China. Earlier in the U19 worlds, the Germans defeated Shekunov and Veretiuk in a pool play match.
Alvarez and Moreno placed third at the FIVB U19 World Championships in Nanjing after defeating Newberry and Sparks 2-1 (10-21, 21-18, 15-12) in the 41-minute bronze medal match July 15.
Other men's teams clinching group crowns and advancing to the second-round of elimination with a bye were the men's duos of sixth-seeded Bintang Akbar/Danang Herlambang of Indonesia (Pool F) and Artur Hajos/Bence Streli of Hungary (Pool G). Akbar and Herlambang placed ninth at the U19 worlds with the Hungarians finished ninth.
Joining the American and Spanish women as pool winners on Wednesday were fifth-seeded Nicol Bertozzi/Claudia Scampoli of Italy (Pool D) and 29th-seeded Shuting Cao/Jinjin Zeng of China (Pool D). The Chinese women placed ninth at the U19 World Championships while Bertozzi and Scampoli were ousted in the first-round of elimination by Newberry and Sparks to place 17th.
China's Jinjin Zeng (left) and Shuting Cao
Highlighting Friday's final day of pool play are matches for the second-seeded Russian women's pair of Mariia Bocharova/Maria Voronina of Russia and the 32nd-seeded men's pair of Nathan Broch/Timon Gysin of Switzerland.
The reigning U19 women's world champions, Bocharova and Voronina meet 15th-seeded Thamela Coradelli/Ana Carolina Dos Santos of Brazil with the winner capturing the Pool B title and earning the bye for the first-round of elimination.
With upset wins over Argentina and Thailand tandems, Broch and Gysin secured the men's Pool A title by defeating 17th-seeded Patrik Manas/Jiri Sedlak of the Czech Republic on Friday. The Swiss pair open play with a three-set win Monday over Bautista Amieva/Mauro Zelayeta of Argentina, who placed fourth at the Nanjing U19 World Championships in July.
With one day of pool play remaining before the start of the men's and women's elimination rounds, teams from the European confederation have won 34 of the 80 contests after five days of group action, including 15 wins for women and 19 for men. The South American confederation has netted 16 victories (10 women, six men) followed by 14 for NORCECA (eight women, six men), 12 for the Asian confederation (six women, six men) and four for pairs from the African continent (one woman, three men).
The Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic elimination rounds begin on Saturday for both men and women as the top three teams from each pool advance to single-elimination bracket play. Both the men's and women's quarterfinals will be played on Monday followed by the semifinals on Tuesday and the medal matches on Wednesday.