COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 23, 2012)– The 2012 SWATCH World Tour is hosting the Patria Direct Prague Open on May 22-27 in Prague, Czech Republic.
The main draw begins on Thursday. The U.S. teams of Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.)/Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.)/Nick Lucena (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah)/Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) are set to compete.
Going into Prague, two teams are in a close race to qualify for the second men’s spot on the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team. So far this season, both Fuerbringer/Lucena and Gibb/Rosenthal have earned 4920 FIVB ranking points toward qualifying for the roster spot. In this neck-and-neck battle, every match matters as both teams look to improve their chances at earning this second roster position. The first spot on the U.S. Olympic men’s beach volleyball team roster is projected to go to Dalhausser and Rogers, who have earned enough points to qualify for the first roster Olympic spot.
Dalhausser and Rogers snatched the No. 1 seed in Prague. On Thursday, they will play the Czech Republic’s Robert Kufa and Jan Hadrava, seeded No. 32. The winner of the match faces the winner of Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins (17) versus the French duo of Andy Ces and Kevin Ces (16).
Fuerbringer and Lucena go into the main draw seeded No. 3 overall. They will take on the Netherlands’ team of Jon Stiekma and Christiaan Varenhorst (seeded 30). The winner of this match will advance to the next round, and take on the winner of the Brazil’s Thiago Santos Barbosa and Rhooney de Oliveira Ferramenta (19) and the Netherlands’ Emiel Boersma and Daan Spijkers (14).
Gibb and Rosenthal are seeded seventh. They will take on the Russian team of Yury Bogatov and Serguei Prokopiev (26). The winner will face the winner of Switzerland’s Sascha Heyer and Sebastian Chevallier (23) and the Czech Republic team of Jan Dumek and Martin Tichy (10).
The U.S. men’s beach volleyball team of Casey Jennings (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Billy Strickland (Malibu, Calif.) competed Wednesday in the qualifier round. They won their first-round match with a victory over Peter Eglseer and Felix Koraimann of Australia, 21-12, 22-24, 22-20 in 57 minutes. The second round, they defeated the Ukrainian team of Mykola Babich and Oleksandr Ioisher, 19-21, 21-17, 15-9 in 53 minutes.
The U.S. pair advanced to the third and final round of qualification where they fell to Spain’s Francisco Alfredo Marcos and Christian Garcia, 21-16, 21-17 in 39 minutes. The loss meant they did not qualify for the main draw.
Complete information about the FIVB World Tour is available on the FIVB web site.