Gstaad, Switzerland, July 12, 2018 - For one of the few times in the 32 seasons of the men's FIVB World Tour, the top two seeded teams in an international beach volleyball event have been eliminated without winning a match in the tournament.
Teams from the Czech Republic and Latvia posted pool play elimination wins here on Thursday morning in the $600,000 Gstaad Major over the Brazilian pairs of top-seeded Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves and second-seeded Alison Cerutti/Andre Loyola to advance to the afternoon bracket play rounds in the FIVB World Tour.
The setback by Vitor/Evandro marked the second time this season that a top-seeded team placed 25th in a FIVB World Tour event were eliminated as the Brazilians were upset Wednesday by 32nd-seeded Chase Budinger/Sean Rosenthal 2-0 (21-19, 22-20) in a 41-minute Pool A match followed by their 2-0 (21-19, 25-23) setback in 44 minutes on Thursday to 16th-seeded Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner of the Czech Republic.
Evandro Goncalves (left) and Andre Loyola of Brazil during their first-round setback to USA on Wednesday in the Gstaad Major
In Alison/Loyola's Pool B, the Brazilians were upset by 31st-seeded qualifiers Andrea Abbiati/Tiziano Andreatta of Italy 2-0 (21-19, 29-27) in 41 minutes Wednesday before being eliminated from the Gstaad Major by 18th-seeded Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs of Latvia 2-1 (21-15, 25-27, 15-12) in 50 minutes.
Since the start of rally scoring on the FIVB World Tour in 2001, the 32nd-seeded team has managed to defeat the No. 1 seeded team 17 times in 225 matches (7.6 percent) while the 31st-seeded team has won 23 of 223 matches over the No. 2-seeded pair (10.5 percent).
Being a No. 1 seeded team in an FIVB World Tour event this season does not always translate to a podium placement. With the Gstaad Major being the 33rd men's event on the international calendar this season, the top-seeded teams have only captured six gold medals, competed in 10 finals, placed on the podium 11 times and participated in the final four 16 times.
It should be noted that Brazilian beach volleyball experienced one of its biggest mid-season shakeups ever less than two months ago when three of the top men’s teams from the South American country were reshaped with Rio 2016 Olympic and 2015 FIVB world champions Alison and Bruno Oscar Schmidt splitting.
Prior to the Gstaad Major, Vitor and Evandro were arguably the ones to have the best start. The two, who had played together in 2013 and 2014, collected a silver medal in Warsaw and finished fifth in Ostrava and fourth in Espinho, last weekend.
Alison partnered up with Loyola, the 2017 world champion with Evandro and the Brazilian pair finished fifth in Warsaw, 17th in Ostrava and 25th last week in Espinho before matching that feat Thursday in Gstaad.
“We want to qualify for Tokyo 2020, but we know we’ll have to work a lot to get there,” Alison said about the new team. “The good thing is that with all these changes all teams start from the same place. We are looking forward to face difficulties and tough matches as that will make us grow as a team, as it was with Bruno some years ago.”
Bruno and Pedro Solberg, who had also teamed up before in 2012 and 2013, are still competing in this Gstaad as the 13th-seeded team in the Main Draw. After losing on Wednesday 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-12) in a 50-minute Pool D match to 20th-seeded Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter of Canada, Bruno and Pedro posted a 2-0 (23-21, 21-16) win in 43 minutes over 29th-seeded Nico Beeler/Quentin Metral of Switzerland.
Brazilians Bruno Oscar Schmidt (left) and Pedro Salgado during their opening Gstaad Major win Thursday over Switzerland
“This change was about moving out of our comfort zone,” Bruno has been quoted as saying. “Alison and I slowed down after the Olympics and it was hard to bounce back, we both needed a new motivation and we decided that it would be the best if we chased new challenges. These first months are of adjustment, even for Pedro and me, who have played together in the past.”