The top-ranked team in the FIVB World Rankings, Brazilians Andre Loyola and George Wanderley are among the semifinalists of the Beach Volleyball World Championships Rome 2022.
World ranking leaders Andre and George among Rome semifinalists
The Brazilians join compatriots Vitor and Renato, Norwegians Mol and Sorum and Americans Brunner and Schalk in the battle for gold
Publicado 09:10, 17 jun. 2022
The Brazilians will play Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sorum in the second semifinal of the men’s tournament at the Foro Italico on Saturday, at 21.15 local time (19.15 GMT). The other gold medal match spot will be played for by Brazilians Vitor Felipe and Renato Lima and Americans Theo Brunner and Chaim Schalk, who will meet at 17.15 local time (15.15 GMT).
Andre, a 2017 world champion, and George, who took the top spot in the World Rankings after they finished fifth at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Ostrava, at the end of May, remain undefeated in Rome after they claimed their sixth consecutive win in the Italian capital on Friday.
The two players, who finished fifth at the 2019 World Championships, came out on top of an all-Brazilian quarterfinal matchup with Rio 2016 Olympic champion Bruno Schmidt and partner Saymon Barbosa, winning in straight sets (21-17, 23-21).
“This match carried a lot of weight for us because in 2019 we lost in the quarterfinals after having a 14-11 lead in the tie-breaker,” Andre commented. “That’s the one match in my career that still keeps me awake at night, and we didn’t want that to happen again. There was a lot on the line for us today and it was a very nervous match as it was against another Brazilian team. I’m really happy that we were able to win and hopefully I’ll be able to erase the 2019 memories for good by winning a medal here with George.”
The world ranking leaders will have another tough challenge in the semifinals, as they will face Olympic champions Mol and Sorum. The Norwegians prevented an all-Brazilian semifinal in Rome with their two-set (23-21, 21-13) quarterfinal victory over Alison Cerutti and Gustavo ‘Guto’ Carvalhaes.
After taking bronze in their first World Championship appearance in 2019, the Beach Volley Vikings are eager to win gold this time and collect the only major beach volleyball title that still evades them.
“They played really well at the start of the first set and we had some trouble with our side out,” Sorum said after their victory. “We changed our tactics near the end of the set and that got us some really important points. It was great that we managed to win in two sets because we were tired and it was really difficult to play. We’ll try and reset and bring our best game for tomorrow.”
The Brazilians and Norwegians have met three times, all of them his year, and the Europeans won the first two encounters, in Rosarito and Ostrava, before they were forced to forfeit the third duel, in Jurmala, due to injury.
Playing in their first World Championship, Vitor and Renato continued to be the sensations of the tournament after they ousted Estonians Mart Tiisaar and Kusti Nolvak in their two-set (21-18, 21-15) quarterfinal duel.
The 31-year-old Vitor has made it to the semifinals at a World Championship in his fourth attempt, while the 22-year-old Renato is enjoying his first appearance.
“We’re so proud of our team and our staff at C.T. Cangaço,” Renato commented. “Andre and George are also part of our training group and to have both teams making it to the semifinals, it’s huge for us. Vitor was so important in helping me during the match today. We’re very happy to be here and will try to continue playing this way in the semifinals.”
Their opponents Brunner and Schalk eliminated the 2013 world champions, Dutch pair Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, by emerging victorious in the only three-setter (21-16, 16-21, 15-12) of the men's quarterfinals in the final match of the day at the Foro Italico.
Brunner, 37, is set to make his second World Championship semifinal appearance after finishing fourth with Nick Lucena in 2015, while the 36-year-old Schalk will make his first after switching his sports citizenship from Canada to start representing the United States.
“We've been building and playing together for one year and a half now,” Schalk remarked. “Just one year ago we were in the qualifier and it was super deep. But we got better and that's awesome. We played the Dutch three times in the last tournaments and each match was just like today. They won the first two, but we knew we would do it today.”
The American and Brazilian opponents have met three times in the last year, with Brunner and Schalk coming out on top twice and Vitor and Renato once.