Klagenfurt, Austria, July 30, 2016 - With the retirement of Beach Volleyball legends Emanuel Rego and Todd Rogers this season, one wonders if the sport has any future stars.
The answer is yes as “young guns” like Saymon Barbosa/Gustavo “Guto” Carvalhaes of Brazil and Bartosz Losiak/Michal Bryl of Poland played their way into the semi-finals of the US$800,000 A1 Major Klagenfurt here Saturday by winning a pair of matches each.
The two teams will meet in Sunday’s first-semi-finals as the 22-year old Brazilians will meet the 21-year old Bryl and 24-year old Losiak. Rio-bound Olympians Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk of Canada challenge Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia in second of four matches Sunday.
While the Brazilians/Polish match is the first FIVB meeting between the two teams, Saxton and Schalk have won four of six matches with the Latvians with three-straight wins. Interestingly, the two teams will meet each other at midnight on August 7 on Copacabana at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Losiak, who is also head to Rio next week with Piotr Kantor, and Bryl advanced to the A1 Major Klagenfurt semi-final by defeating two Russian teams. As the 11th-seeded pair in the fourth of five SWATCH Major Series event, the Poles eliminated 25th-seeded Dmitri Barsouk/Nikita Liamin 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) in 35 minutes and 16th-seeded Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-8) in 43 minutes.
The A1 Major Klagenfurt is the first event for the Losiak/Bryl partnership on the FIVB World Tour as the pair had played together previously in a FIVB under-23 world championship. The Saturday victories was “special” as the two teams that the Poles defeated were instrumental in landing Russia a second men’s berth in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where the 30-somethings Barsouk and Liamin were named to play over 19-year old Stoyanovskiy and 20-year old Yarzutkin.
The fourth-seeded Saymon and Guto, who are the 15th-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour in their first full-season together, benefited from a forfeit win over fifth-seeded and Rio-bound Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov of Russia to advance to the quarter-finals where the Brazilians defeated 32nd-seeded qualifiers Davide Dal Molin/Andrea Tomatis of Italy 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) in 30 minutes.
Seeded third in the competition, Saxton and Schalk prevented a third set of “young guns” in the A1 Major Klagenfurt “final four” by eliminating 20-year old Christian Sorum and 19-year old Anders Mol of Norway 2-1 (21-16, 18-21, 15-13) in a 47-minute quarter-final match. Earlier Saturday, the Canadians ousted 12th-seeded Alvaro Filho and Vitor Felipe of Brazil 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) in 38 minutes.
The top-seeded Samoilovs and Smedins, who will celebrate his 29th birthday Sunday, defeated second-seeded Alexander Brouwer and / Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands 2-1 (17-21, 21-15, 15-10) in 48 minutes to advance to the semi-finals. It was the fourth FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams with the Latvians holding a 3-1 advantage.
Samoilovs and Smedins, who netted the gold medal at the 215 European Championships on the same court, opened play Saturday by eliminating 10th-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel of Poland 2-1 (22-24, 21-16, 15-9) in 54 minutes. Like the Latvians, Fijalek and Prudel are headed to Rio for the Olympics.
Following Sunday’s two semi-final matches, the men’s medal contests will be staged with the winning team sharing the $57,000 first-place prize. The women A1 Major Klagenfurt finale was played Saturday with Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst defeating Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich and Nadine Zumkehr in the finals.