Yokohama, Japan, July 23, 2015 – Brazil’s Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior/Pedro Solberg win their pool after posting three victories in the group at the 2015 FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam. The double gender $800,000 FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam marks the first time both men and women have competed together in a FIVB World Tour event in Japan.
Evandro/Pedro Solberg battled through their toughest pool match against Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel 2-1 (21-16, 18-21, 17-15) to earn the top spot and a bye directly into second round knock-outs on Yokohama’s Rinko Park.Determined Evandro/Pedro Solberg
Evandro/Pedro Solberg had a match on their hands against Fijalek/Prudel with Brazil’s powerful swings, equally met with Poland’s powerful swings. Brazil appeared confident in the first, but Poland began to edge ahead and some intelligent balls helped Fijalek/Prudel secure a third set.
The third was a tense affair with excellent Polish reception of Evandro/Pedro Solberg’s unforgiving attacks. It was a fight to end but it was Brazil’s day.
“It’s actually our first tournament that we have won three matches in the pool. We are having a very good season, but we have been playing very so-so in the pool play so it’s really nice to finish the second day with three wins and make it out of the pool as first place.
“This match was like, you start doing something and then after seven balls you have to change and after seven balls you have to change again. There is not something concrete, something very clear about what to do against them. We had to keep trying different things because they are very good, they are such a strong team so we had to keep changing and changing and find out what to do,” said Pedro Solberg.
The Brazilian team are aiming for the podium after winning the Stavanger MJS and taking bronze at the World Championships in the Netherlands last month.
“The tournament is very important to us like every Grand Slam and major event so we hope we keep playing good like we played today, like we have been playing in the play-offs and to finish here with the first place because that’s our goal always,” said Pedro.Australia’s Kapa/McHugh proceed
An important match for Isaac Kapa/Christopher McHugh and Japan’s Koichi Nishimura/Yuya Ageba unfolded on centre court, as only the winner would enter the knock-out phase of Yokohama. Japan began strongly with the crowd fully backing the wild-cards Nishimura/Ageba. Australia knew what was riding on the match and pulled out a nail-biter in the second set ending 32-30.
Kapa/McHugh carried their rhythm through in the tie-break helped along with strong serving to close the match, 2-1 (18-21, 32-30, 15-7) and earn a spot in the single round elimination.
“Really good match by Japan today, they played really well in front of the home crowd, they knew if they won they would get out of the pool so it was a really important for them in their home event. It’s always great to win and we’re really looking forward to getting on to tomorrow. Kap played great today and we couldn’t ask for a better day,” said McHugh.
“My partner busted out some great jump serves in the second set to really strive us through to the end, so we’re happy to be still in the draw and keep going tomorrow,” said Kapa.
“Yokohama is good, the weather is very much suited to how it is in Australia for us, not right now obviously as it’s winter, but in summer time it’s very much like this, we’ve got a bit of humidity with a little bit of heat so we love that sort of weather,” said Kapa.
Canada’s Chaim Schalk/Ben Saxton join Kapa/McHugh to proceed through Pool A along with Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst (NED) who take the top spot.
This year’s FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam will be the third of five double-gender FIVB Grand Slams, each with a total purse of $800,000, on the FIVB World Tour 2015. Seven FIVB men’s only events were held in Japan from 1989-1995 with six being held in Enoshima and one in Yokohama in 1991. A total of 14 women’s only events were held in Osaka from 1994-2005 and in 2008 and 2009.
Japan has hosted a total of 21 FIVB World Tour events (seven men, 14 women) with the United States leading the medal count for men and Brazil dominating the medal tally for women.
Following the Yokohama Grand Slam the 2015 FIVB World Tour will have a three-week break before resuming in the United States with the double-gender FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in Southern California set for August 18-23.