Long Beach, Calif., USA, August 21, 2015 - Teams from Brazil, The Netherlands, Spain and the United States will vie for the men’s medals at the US$800,000 ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball after winning elimination matches here Friday on the TrueCar Court at Alamitos Beach.
Reigning world championships and second-seeded Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil, 10th-seeded Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain and 24th-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena of the United States had the “toughest” road to Saturday’s semi-finals as each pair had to win three matches each Friday to gain “final four” berths.
Fifth-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands, the 2013 FIVB world champions, had to win only two matches after earning a first-round “bye” for the 24-team elimination bracket after finishing first in their pool in the third annual ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball.
The men’s first semi-final Saturday will feature the battle of world champions as Alison and Bruno will play Brouwer and Meeuwsen for the fifth-time on the FIVB World Tour. The Brazilians hold a 3-1 edge in the series, including a two-set win over Brouwer and Meeuwsen at the end of May in the quarter-finals of the Russian Grand Slam in Moscow in the only 2015 meeting.
Alison and Bruno, have won the last three FIVB World Tour events in The Netherlands, Switzerland and Japan, are appearing in their 10th international “final four” in 19 events. Brouwer and Meeuwsen are playing in their 47th FIVB World Tour event and will be competing in the semi-finals for the eighth-time. Earlier this season, the Dutch topped the FIVB podium at the Porec Major in Croatia.
Dalhausser and Lucena, who are competing in their first FIVB World Tour event together since 2005, will be challenging Gavira and Herrera in the second semi-final. The Spaniards, who won the Moscow Grand Slam this year, are playing in their 69th FIVB event as Saturday’s “final four” appearance is their 17th.
Dalhausser will be seeking his third ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball medal after topping the 2013 and 2014 podium in Long Beach with Sean Rosenthal, who placed 17th Friday with Theo Brunner.
Alison and Bruno defeated two Brazilian rivals (32nd-seeded Saymon Barbosa/Gustavo Carvalhaes and seventh-seeded Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos) to reach the quarter-finals where the world champs ousted 28th-seeded Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen of Germany 2-0 (21-17, 21-13) in 42 minutes.
After defeating 2014 ASICS silver medal winners Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel of Poland 2-0 (24-22, 21-15) in 42 minutes to open play Friday, Brouwer and Meeuwsen gained a spot in the semi-finals with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) victory in 37 minutes over Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Konstantin Semenov of Russia.
Saturday’s schedule will also feature the women’s quarter-finals and semi-final matches with Sunday’s slate featuring the four medal matches. The winning teams in both genders will split the $57,000 first-place prizes. The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball is the second of two events in the United States this season that are part of the qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The first 2015 American Olympic qualifier was held in mid-June at St. Petersburg, Fla. Prior to the St. Petersburg Grand Slam, the last Olympic Beach Volleyball qualifying event in the United States was staged in September 2003 at Carson, Calif.
Following the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, the final Grand Slam event on the 2015 FIVB World Tour will be played August 25-30 in Olsztyn, Poland. The “test” event for the Rio 2016 Olympics will be staged on September 2-6 at exactly the same location for the Summer Games’ Beach Volleyball competition on Copacabana Beach.
Prior to returning to the United States for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (September 29-October 4), the international circuit will stage “open” tournaments in Russia (Sochi, September 8-13) and China (Xiamen, September 22-27).