Porec, Croatia, June 28, 2016 - It was not a typical qualifying day at a FIVB World Tour Beach Volleyball event here Tuesday as the promoter for the US$800,000 Porec Major produced a new “twist” of playing the men’s preliminary rounds over a two-day period.
But, it was typical day for the women as the 24-team qualifier featured two rounds of play with eight teams from five countries (Austria, Brazil, Germany, Poland and Switzerland) advanced to Wednesday’s opening “money” rounds while the men will complete qualifying where another eight pairs will progress to Thursday’s Main Draw schedule.
“I like it,” said 41-year old Ricardo Santos, who lost a country quota match Monday with Andre Loyola. “We got a lucky break when some teams withdrew to get another chance to qualify for the Main Draw. And, we got another lucky break with a first-round bye in qualification. Now, we have chance to rest and prepare for tomorrow’s match.”
Ricardo is the second oldest men’s player competing in the Porec Major with Americans John Hyden (43) and Jake Gibb (40) sandwiching the legendary Brazilian. However, both Americans do not start playing in the SWATCH Major Series event until Thursday’s opening Main Draw matches.
Seeded second in the qualifier, Andre and Ricardo will play 18th-seeded Anders Lund Hoyer/Peter Kildegaard of Denmark with the winner of that match advancing to Thursday’s Main Draw where pool play matches are scheduled. The Porec Major is the fourth FIVB World Tour event for the Andre/Ricardo partnership with two 25ths and a 17th to their credit for stops in Russia, Germany and Poland.
Other teams with first-round qualification “byes” were top-seeded Saymon Barbosa/Gustavo “Guto” Carvalhaes of Brazil, third-seeded Mirco Gerson/Alexei Strasser of Switzerland and fourth-seeded Oivind Hordvik/Bjarte Usken of Norway. Saymon and Guto, who defeated Andre and Loyola in three sets Monday, placed third at the last FIVB World Tour event two weeks ago in Olsztyn, Poland.
Joining Andre and Ricardo with “lucky” entries into the Porec Major qualifier were 13th-seeded Martin Ermacora/Moritz Pristauz-Telsnigg of Austria and 21st-seeded Hendrik Mol/Lars Fredrik Tvinde of Norway. Both teams lost country quota matches Monday, but got a break when teams withdrew from the SWATCH Major Series event.
While Andre and Ricardo got the “lucky” break with a first-round “bye” for elimination, the Austrian and Norwegian country quota losers won qualifying matches Tuesday. The 21st-seeded Mol and Tvinde eliminated 12th-seeded Chris Gregory/Jake Sheaf of England 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) in 34 minutes while the 13th-seeded Ermacora/Pristauz-Telsnigg ousted 20th-seeded Adrian Heidrich/Gabriel Kissling of Switzerland 2-0 (21-17, 21-7) in 30 minutes.
With the qualifying wins Tuesday, Mol and Tvinde will challenge fifth-seeded Michal Bryl and /Kacper Kujawiak of Poland Wednesday while Ermacora/Pristauz-Telsnigg play Hordvik and Usken. Bryl and / Kujawiak scored a 2-0 (21-12, 21-15) win in 30 minutes over 28th-seeded Jure Bedra and Jernej Potocnik of Slovenia Tuesday.
Here are the other qualifying matches scheduled for Wednesday.
• Saymon Barbosa/Gustavo Carvalhaes, Brazil (No. 1-seeded qualifying team) vs. Peter Eglseer/Florian Schnetzer, Austria (16)
• Lorenz Petutschnig/Tobias Winter, Austria (9) vs. Jeremy Casebeer/Sean Rosenthal, United States (8)
• Mirco Gerson/Alexei Strasser, Switzerland (3) vs. Lukas Kazdailis/Arnas Rumsevicius, Lithuania (14)
• David Kufa/David Lenc, Czech Republic (22) vs. Geir Eithun/Christian Sorum, Norway (6)
• Christian Garcia/Francisco Alfredo Marco, Spain (7) vs. Mathias Berntsen/Anders Mol, Norway (23)
With pool play and elimination matches featured on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the women’s semi-finals and medal matches will be played Saturday. The men’s pool play matches will be Thursday and Friday with elimination rounds on Saturday followed by the “final four” contests Sunday. The winning pairs will share the $57,000 first-place prizes.
Following the Porec Major, the SWATCH Series continues with stops in Switzerland (Gstaad, July 5-10) and Austria (Klagenfurt, July 26-31). Following the Olympics and the ASISCS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the end of August in the United States at Long Beach, the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals will be held September 8-13. The site for the event where the winning teams shared $100,000 first-place prizes, will be announced in the coming weeks.