Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo grabbed the 10th available spot in the Round of 16 at the Tokyo 2020 men’s Olympic beach volleyball tournament, after finishing top of their pool unbeaten. Also on Friday, Brazil’s Evandro Goncalves and Bruno Schmidt and Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan, who had already qualified for the eighthfinals, won their pools by claiming their third consecutive victories at Shiokaze Park.
Nicolai & Lupo top pool unbeaten to progress
Evandro & Bruno, Cherif & Ahmed also stay undefeated in their pools
Publicado 02:08, 30 jul. 2021
Italy’s Nicolai and Lupo, silver medallists from the previous Olympics, managed to overcome the resistance of Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak on the way to a 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 15-10) victory, their third since the start of the competition. Finishing their Pool F campaign on a perfect 3-0 win-loss record, they secured the first place in the final pool standings even before the last match in the pool, between Germany’s Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler and Japan’s Yusuke ‘Gottsu’ Ishijima and Katsuhiro Shiratori on Saturday. However, Kantor and Losiak, on 1-2, will have to wait for the outcome of that game to find out their fate.
“When you play a team like Poland, you always need to be a little bit worried. But we know how to play well and we know that if we play well, we can win every match,” said Paolo Nicolai. “For sure, this win gives us confidence, but, at the same time, we know that now another kind of tournament starts. We played very well in the pool, but now we have to stay focused going forward.”
In the last match on Friday’s programme, Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan showed another convincing performance on the Olympic court to master a 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) shutout of USA’s Jake Gibb and Tri Bourne in the duel for the top of Pool C, as both teams had already secured their spots among the best 16.
In the morning, Adrian Heidrich and Mirco Gerson of Switzerland edged Italy’s Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi to claim a 2-1 (21-14, 24-26, 15-13) win, take the third place in the pool and move forward to a lucky-loser game. After denying four Swiss match points before claiming the second set, Carambula and Rossi attempted a comeback, but Heidrich and Gerson were stronger in the epilogue to send the Italians home.
“We know the opponents very well. Adri is also a very good friend of mine. We made our strategy and tried to play our best beach volleyball. We have already shown good stuff during this Olympics. More or less, we lost very tight. Today we thought, if we put some more balls in and if we pressure them a little bit more with our serve, we were going to win, and I think that was the key. Today we improved very well what we did the last two games. Now we will recover first. Then we’ll see what the plan for the next few days is and we will play game for game,” Gerson told Volleyball World.
Evandro and Bruno Schmidt and Poland’s Michal Bryl and Grzegorz Fijalek, the two unbeaten teams in Pool E, engaged in a fierce battle with each other for the first place in the pool. The Brazilians narrowly won the first set, storming on a three-point run to close it. Bryl and Fijalek dominated the second. In a very tight tie-breaker, they were the first to reach match point, but Evandro and Bruno persevered to celebrate with a 2-1 (21-19, 14-21, 17-15) victory.
Chile’s Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt managed to stay alive in the tournament with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-12) shutout of Morocco’s Mohamed Abicha and Zouheir Elgraoui for the third place in the pool.