Vienna, Austria, July 31, 2017 - With reigning Olympic and world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil the darlings of the men’s field at the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1, Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai are quietly winning matches highlighted by a victory here Monday over a team from Australia.
Olympic silver medal winners after dropping the Rio Copacabana finale to Alison and Bruno, Lupo and Nicolai are competing in their third World Championships together and have won both of their Pool K matches, including a 2-0 (21-15, 21-12) win in 36 minutes over 35th-seeded Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann of Australia.
With an opening win Saturday over 38th-seeded African qualifiers Abubakarr Kamara/Lombie Patrick of Sierra Leone, Lupo and Nicolai conclude Pool K play Tuesday against 14th-seeded Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin of Russia, the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic champions.
The big question this week will be if there will be a Rio Olympic rematch between Lupo/Nicolai and Alison/Bruno. The Brazilians lead the FIVB World Tour series between the two teams at 7-5, but the Italians have two of the last three matches highlighted by a pair of wins earlier this month at the Porec Major in Croatia.
The $1-million FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 will feature 24 pool play matches (16 men and eight women) and four women’s elimination matches on three courts on Tuesday at the state-of-the art venue in Vienna.
A total of 216-matches will be contested over a 10-day period at the world championships where the winning men’s and women’s teams will each split the $60,000 first-place prizes. The women’s medal matches will be played on August 5 and the men’s on August 6. With 96 teams from 40 countries in the competition, pool play highlights the first six days of play with the featured court being the 10,000-seat Red Bull Beach Arena.