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12.06.2010 - Young Russian Pair Secure Elimination Bracket “Bye” At Grand Slam presented by SEAT

Moscow, Russia, June 11, 2010 – A pair of 23-year old Russians used an opening seed-break-through victory along with a pair of wins here Friday to capture one of the eight pools in the men’s competition at the US$600,000 Grand Slam presented by SEAT on the Poklonnaya Gora (Victory Park) courts.

Tenth-seeded Yury Bogatov and Serguei Prokopiev opened play in the fifth event on the 2010 SWATCH FIVB World Tour calendar Thursday by upsetting seventh-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Bruno Oscar Schmidt 21-16 and 21-15 in 43 minutes before completing an unbeaten mark in Pool P with two victories Friday over Beach Volleyball pairs from Germany.

With the 3-0 group record, Bogatov and Prokopiev earned a “bye” for the first-round of elimination play that begins Saturday for the second- and third-place finishers in the eight pools.  Competing in their second Grand Slam presented by SEAT together, the young Russians placed second in their 2009 Moscow pool and eventually placed ninth after being eliminated by a team from Canada.

The Grand Slam presented by SEAT, which will be part of the country’s Russian Day observance this weekend, will also feature 12 women’s matches Saturday to set the field for Sunday’s semi-final and medal contests.  The men’s “final four” matches will be Monday as the winning pairs in each gender will share the $43,500 first-place prizes.

Also posting a seed-break-through in their group were 13th-seeded Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu of China.  The silver medal winners at the 2008 Moscow Grand Slam after losing the finals to Americans Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, Wu and Xu upset fourth-seeded Adrian Gavira Collado and Pablo Herrera of Spain 21-17 and 21-19 in 40 minutes in the final Pool M match.  The Chinese had earlier defeated pairs from Brazil and Italy this week.

The top-seeded Dalhausser and Rogers, who clinched the top qualifying spot for the Beijing Olympic Games by winning the 2008 Moscow event, won Pool J despite being extended to third sets in their first two matches by teams from the United States and Kazakhstan.  The Americans have won three of the first four SWATCH FIVB World Tour events this season in Brazil, Italy and Poland.

Second-seeded Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego gained the top spot in the 24-team Grand Slam presented by SEAT elimination bracket by not losing a set in Pool K with wins over pairs from Austria, the United States and Switzerland.  Like Dalhausser and Rogers, Alison and Emanuel have four-straight “final four” finishes this season with gold medal setbacks to the Americans in Brazil and Italy.

Third-seeded Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann of Germany, the defending Grand Slam presented by SEAT champions, captured Pool L with three-straight wins.  The reigning FIVB world champions, Brink and Reckermann defeated Emanuel and Ricardo Santos in a three-set Moscow 2009 finale for the German’s fourth gold medal last season.

While the women’s pool play competition ended Thursday with the top-eight seeded teams winning their groups, the men’s portion of the Grand Slam presented by SEAT had only four pools Friday captured by a top-seeded team.  Other group winners were eighth-seeded Marcio Araujo/Ricardo Santos of Brazil (Pool Q), 12th-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel of Poland (Pool N) and 22nd-seeded Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena of the United States (Pool O).

After the Grand Slam presented by SEAT, the 2010 women’s SWATCH FIVB World Tour takes a two-week break before resuming play in Norway for the $600,000 ConocoPhillips Grand Slam in Stavanger.  The men will compete in the Czech Republic June 15-20 at Prague.