2018-07-12 19:45:00 CEST
Bruno and Pedro show their resolve to remain in the hunt for a cowbell
Olympic champion Bruno Oscar Schmidt and partner Pedro Solberg kept their dream alive by remaining the last Brazilian men’s team left in the Swatch Major Gstaad on a dramatic day that saw three Samba teams exit the tournament.
Bruno and Pedro battled to a straight sets win over Swiss hopes Nico Beeler and Quentin Métral to firstly stay in the tournament before beating American team consisting of former NBA star Chase Budinger and Sean Rosenthal to reach the last 16.
Both Bruno and Pedro have taken home the coveted cowbells back to Brazil following past successes in Gstaad and their dream of adding another to their collection remains well and truly on.
However, the same cannot be said of their fellow Brazilians, as Gstaad waved goodbye to three of the South American teams on day two of pool play in the Alps. Never in Beach Major Series history has a men’s Brazilian team failed to reach the podium in Gstaad.
The biggest shock was the elimination of Alison Cerutti and André Loyola Stein – the reigning Olympic and World champions respectively. The new duo, who joined forces in May, lost their pool elimination match to Latvia’s Edgars Tocs and Martins Plavins in three sets.
Just yards away from that match, André’spartner last season, Evandro Gonçalves – with new partner Vitor Felipe – was dumped out of the tournament, losing to Czech rising stars Ondrej Perušić and David Schweiner. And to complete an unhappy hat-trick, Thiago Barbosa and George Wanderely were beaten by their South American rivals, Tigrito Gomez and Carlos Rangel, of Venezuela.
But the day belonged to Schmidt and Solberg as their win over the American wildcards booked a meeting with highly-rated Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sørum for a place in the quarterfinals.
“Hell yeah!” was Bruno’s response when asked if he was relieved to get off the mark in the mountains. “Yesterday we started well, probably better than we did today, but we let the game get away from us which was frustrating.
“But the positive thing today was that we complete changed, we started well and did everything to keep that level.”
Bruno and Pedro were reunited this season after splitting in 2013. And Bruno, who won Olympic gold with Alison in Rio in 2016, says despite their slow start – their last three tournaments has seen them finish ninth, 17th and ninth – they are looking forward to growing stronger as this season continues.
“I’m playing at close to 70 per cent right now,” admitted Bruno, who picked up the golden cowbell at the 2015 Gstaad Major. “It’s been hard for me, I’ve had a few injuries but I’m getting stronger. The funny thing in beach volleyball is you can still compete when you’re not in the best condition. In beach volleyball you’re totally capable of turning things around and we’re doing that. We’re glad we’re challenging even when not at our best.
“I’m quite sure when we’re back to full fitness we’ll be better. We haven’t had much time to train but if we continue to work hard we’ll be at our best.”