Final Four in Beach Volleyball Set
ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) _ Two Brazilian teams beat two U.S. duos Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour at Acapulco.
Para Ferreira and Guilherme Marques beat Sinjin Smith and Rob Heidger 15-8 in the final round Saturday, helped by the fact the 41-year-old Smith was playing with a broken left toe.
``He was very tired. We just tried to serve to him. Smith was a little bit winded,″ Marques said. ``We just tried not to make mistakes and we got lucky.″
Marques and Ferreira advanced to Sunday’s finals, along with brothers Paul and Martin Laciga of Switzerland, Ian Clark and Bill Boullianne of the United States, and ZeMarco de Melo and Ricardo Santos of Brazil.
In Saturday’s last match to decide the semifinalists, de Melo and Santos beat Karch Kiraly and Adam Johnson, both of San Clemente, Calif., 15-8.
Heidger-Smith and Kiraly-Johnson ended the tournament tied for fifth.
Heidger, who with Smith had earlier scored a 15-5 upset win over second-seeded Kiraly-Johnson, said he was pleased with his performance.
``If you would’ve told me going into this thing that we would’ve got a fifth place with my partner with a broken toe, I would’ve taken it _ and I will take it.″
Smith broke his toe during practice about two weeks ago and the injury kept him from working out.
``For him to come and play this well with a broken toe was pretty amazing,″ said Heidger, 29.
Smith and Kiraly, the only player to win Olympic gold medals in both indoor and beach volleyball, are the two winningest players in U.S. beach volleyball history. Smith has 139 domestic titles to his credit plus 10 in International Beach Volleyball Federation tours. Kiraly has 136 domestic domestic titles and three in the FIVB.
Brazil also dominated the women’s matches Saturday with No. 1-ranked Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede and Sandra Pires and Adriana Samuel both advancing to Sunday’s semifinals. Australia had the other two teams: Natalie Cook and Angela Clarke, and Pauline Manser and Kerri Pottharst.
On Saturday, Behar-Bede beat Manser-Pottharst 15-12; Pires-Samuel beat Lisa Arce and Barbra Fontana of the United States 15-5; Manser-Pottharst beat Liz Masakayan and Elaine Youngs of the United States 15-9; and Cook-Clarke claimed a 15-11 victory over Jenny Jordan and Annett Davis of Los Angeles, and then beat Arce and Fontana 15-8.
The Acapulco tournament is the first of nine Olympic qualifying events for the women and the second of 12 for the men.