Third seeds Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst finished top of a tightly contested men’s Pool C at the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Vitória Open, with three pairs ending on the same points tally.
The Dutch duo had ended the opening day of the main draw with a win and defeat, but ensured they would reach the knock-out phase of the competition by recording a 21-18, 21-17 win over Canada’s Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter.
Their hopes of topping the pool, which would give them a bye through the first round, defended on home favourites Leo Gomes and Rodrigo Vieira Bernat defeating the United States’ Sean Rosenthal and Theo Brunner.
However the American duo stormed to the opening set 21-15 to close in on a third straight victory, but their Brazilian opponents hit back to win the second 21-19.
Gomes and Bernat were able to complete a stirring comeback by triumphing 18-16 in a thrilling deciding set.
As a consequence they joined Rosenthal and Brunner in the first round tomorrow, while Nummerdor and Varenhorst will be able to rest.
“It’s definitely kind of a kick in the side - we have to play an extra match out here in this humid, very hot place,” said Rosenthal.
“But out here this tour is so tough, there’s no easy games.
“You never know out here, there’s never any walkovers.”
World champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt will be another pairing who will not need to face a first round tie, after the Brazilians defeated France’s Youssef Krou and Edouard Rowlandson 21-18, 23-21.
The top five seeded women’s pairings had no trouble in finishing top of their respective pools, although sixth seeded Kinga Kolosinska and Monika Brzostek of Poland surprisingly finished last in Pool F.
Having won silver at the Rio Grand Slam last week, they had been expected to cruise into the knock-out stages of the tournament, but defeats in their opening two matches put their place under threat.
The Polish pairing were unable to raise their game on the second and final day of pool action, as they were beaten 21-15, 25-27, 15-13 by Argentina’s Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug.