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2018-03-02 18:56:00 CEST

Big win for small Brazilians

Guto and Vitor came from behind to knockout Russians Liamin and Krasilnikov

Guto and Vitor celebrate with the numerous Brazilian fans following the Fort Lauderdale MajorGuto and Vitor celebrate with the numerous Brazilian fans following the Fort Lauderdale Major

Playing against Russians Nikita Liamin and Viacheslav Krasilnikov, the bronze medalists of the 2017 World Championships, is never easy. The task gets even harder if you have considerable height disadvantage, but that didn’t stop Brazilians Guto Carvalhaes and Vitor Felipe, who made the most of their skills to eliminate the Russians from the 2018 Fort Lauderdale Major and advance do the Round of 16.

Vitor and Guto showed great resilience to turn things around after being down 18-15 in the second set. The Brazilians, who had lost the first set, brought their best game to the court and outplayed the Europeans, taking the match with a 16-21, 21-18 and 15-10 victory.

“The match was going their way, but they were a little too confident and that fired us up because we knew it wasn’t over yet,” Vitor said after the match. “We never stopped believing and it was a reward to win the match in the end.”

The blocker of the Brazilian team, Vitor, 1.93m, dominated the net, registering seven blocks, against only four of the 2.03m-tall Liamin. Being the undersized team on the court is a constant to the Brazilians, as Guto stands at 1.86m.

“We know we need to make as few mistakes as possible and that has always been part of our games,” Vitor added. “That puts the pressure on the other side. Our opponents might be bigger, but they aren’t perfect and we try to explore their weaknesses. We know we have to play smart, not strong.”

Vitor tries to block a much taller Liamin at the netVitor tries to block a much taller Liamin at the net

The victory sent the Brazilians to the way of the top-seeded Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who they will face at 4pm (EST) in the Red Bull Beach Arena.

“I love playing on Center Court and having the home team in the other side, It willl be perfect,” Guto said. “We know it will be hard, but we’ll try our best. Winning this match, especially the way it was, makes us more confident. We need to start the next match playing in the same level we ended this one.”

Alex Ranghieri and Marco Caminati starred one of the most impressive wins of the tournament so far as the Italians rolled past world champions Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola, eliminating the Brazilians of the tournament with a 21-17, 21-15.

Also advancing from the Round of 24 were Latvia’s Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs and Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins, Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Michal Bryl, USA’s John Hyden/Theo Brunner, The Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen and Canada’s Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter.

The Round of 16 is set to happen this afternoon, with only the best eight teams of the tournament positioning themselves to compete on Saturday, when the quarter-finals and the semifinals will be played. The medal matches will close the beach volleyball week in Florida on Sunday.

Round of 16

Dalhausser/Lucena (USA) v Vitor/Guto Felipe (BRA)

Stoyanovskiy/Velichko (RUS) v Brouwer/Meeuwsen (NED)

Alison/Bruno (BRA) v Samoilovs/Smedins (LAT)

Kantor/Losiak (POL) v Plavins/Tocs (LAT)

Herrera/Gavira (ESP) v Pedlow/Schachter (CAN)

Lupo/Nicolai (ITA) v Ranghieri/Caminati (ITA)

Pedro Solberg/George (BRA) v Fijalek/Bryl (POL)

Gibb/Crabb (USA) v Hyden/Brunner (USA)

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