Gstaad, Switzerland, July 11, 2018 - With four of the top eight-seeded teams being upset in the pool play rounds here on Wednesday at the $600,000 Gstaad Major, the teams of Dries Koekelkoren/Tom van Walle of Belgium and Tayler Crabb/Jake Gibb of the United States posted afternoon upset wins to capture their groups in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event.
Seeded 26th in the 18th Gstaad Major for men after qualifying on Tuesday for the Main Draw, Koekelkoren/van Walle opened play in the morning with a 2-1 (18-21, 21-15, 15-12) Pool G win over seventh-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria before capturing the group title with a 2-1 (21-17, 15-21, 17-15) afternoon victory over 23rd-seeded Ahmed Tijan/Cherif Younousse of Qatar.
The 21st-seeded Crabb and Gibb posted wins over a pair of 2016 Olympic teams starting with a 2-1 (15-21, 21-17, 15-12) Pool E victory in 46 minutes over Rio silver medal winners and 12th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy followed by a group-clinching 2-1 (22-24, 21-17, 15-13) win over fifth-seeded American rivals Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena.
Americans Jake Gibb (right) at the Gstaad Major net against Nick Lucena
Other pool winners Wednesday in the men’s competition were from the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and host Switzerland where eighth-seeded Mirco Gerson/ Adrian Heidrich captured Pool H with wins over teams from Venezuela and Russia.
Two Polish pairs captured group titles, including third-seeded Piotr Kantor/Bartosz (Pool C) and Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek (Pool A). Other group wins were fourth-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands (Pool D), sixth-seeded Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera (Pool F) and Anders Mol/Christian Sorum of Norway.
The top two-ranked teams in the Gstaad Major from Brazil were upset in the first-round as 32nd-seeded Chase Budinger/Sean Rosenthal of United States defeated top-seeded Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves 2-0 (21-19, 22-20) in a 41-minute Pool A match while 31st-seeded qualifiers Andrea Abbiati/Tiziano Andreatta of Italy upset second-seeded Alison Cerutti/Andre Loyola of Brazil 2-0 (21-19, 29-27) in a 41-minute Pool B contest.
Vitor Felipe (left) hits against Chase Budinger (second from left) in the Brazil vs. USA opening center court match Wednesday.
The men complete Gstaad pool play Thursday morning to set the schedule for the afternoon’s first-round of elimination. Two more elimination rounds for men will be played on Friday leading to Saturday’s semifinal and medal matches.
The women’s schedule features pool play Thursday, two rounds of elimination bracket play Friday, quarterfinal matches on Saturday and the final four rounds on Sunday. The winning teams per gender will share the $40,000 first-place prizes.