Moscow, Russia, May 26, 2016 - With the Moscow Grand Slam being the second “big” event on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour calendar, an opening match here Thursday morning featured reigning Beach Volleyball world champions Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil playing world tour leaders Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak of Poland.
Playing on an outside court at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre, the top-seeded Alison and Bruno won their second match in the US$800,000 event with a 2-0 (21-18, 26-24) victory in 43 minutes over the 17th-seeded Kantor and Losiak to remain unbeaten in Pool A with 16th-seeded Josh Binstock/Sam Schachter of Canada.
With Alison and Bruno playing in only their third FIVB World Tour event this season after ranking as the No. 1 pair on the 2015 international standings, Kantor and Losiak are competing in their 11th tournament with 3,560 points as compared to their Brazilian rivals 1,220 points to currently be listed No. 39. In 2015, Alison and Bruno totaled 6,070 world tour points for 11 starts with the Poles No. 14 with 3,440 points for 13 events.
“That was a good win for us over a young team that won the Rio Grand Slam in March,” said Bruno, who will team with Alison to represent Brazil in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “The Polish kids have played a lot of events this year to get ready for the Olympics. We are taking a different approach with this event being like our first in a series of tournaments to prepare for Rio.”
Alison and Bruno lead the series with the Canadians 3-0, including a 2-0 (21-13, 24-22) pool win at the 2015 Moscow Grand Slam. The Brazilians have placed fifth and fourth in the last two FIVB World Tour stops in the Russian capital while Binstock and Schachter finished 17th last year at the Moscow Grand Slam.
Silver medal finishers at last week’s FIVB World Tour stop in the United States, Binstock and Schachter advanced to the Pool A title match against the Alison and Bruno with a 2-0 (21-13, 21-5) win in 30 minutes over 32nd-seeded qualifiers Rihards Finsters/Edgars Tocs of Latvia. Binstock and Schachter scored a 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 15-11) win in 49 minutes over Kantor and Losiak.
Josh Binstock (left) and Sam Schachter of Canada celebrate a Moscow Grand Slam point Thursday against Latvia
The winner of the Brazil-Canada will earn one of the eight first-round “byes” for Friday’s elimination bracket play. Other pool leaders with 2-0 group records entering Thursday’s final 16 group matches are:
Pool B - Second-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson of the United States and 15th-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel of Poland. The Americans lead the FIVB series 3-0 with a win earlier this season in Qatar (21-16, 21-19).
Pool C - 19th-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik of Germany after defeating third-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena of the United States (21-19, 22-20) Thursday morning.
Pool D - Fourth-seeded Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg of Brazil,
Pool E - 21st-seeded Vitor Felipe/Alvaro Filho of Brazil after defeating fifth-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst (21-19, 15-21, 23-21) Thursday morning.
Pool F - Sixth-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands.
Pool G - 10th-seeded Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk of Canada.
Pool H - Ninth-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia, who won the gold medal at a FIVB World Tour event in Turkey two weeks ago at Antalya.
Brazil's Alvaro tells us his feelings on not competing at the Rio Olympics #MoscowGS pic.twitter.com/NDoIn0k00m
The Moscow Grand Slam also features women’s competition where Main Draw pool play will conclude Thursday afternoon. The elimination matches will be played Friday and Saturday to set the lineup for Sunday’s medal matches. The winning teams will share the $57,000 first-place prizes.