UPSETS CONTINUE IN FIVB MEN'S BEACH EVENT
ACAPULCO, MEXICO (April 10, 1999) - The upset continued here Saturday with
three lower seeded teams scoring wins in the third-round of the winner's
bracket in the men's Mexican Open on the beach at Playa Tamarindos.
Eighth-seeded Martin and Paul Laciga of Switzerland started the upset parade
by downing top-seeded Emanuel Scheffer and Jose Loiola of Brazil 15-13 while
14th-seeded Ian Clark and Bill Boullianne of the United States defeated the
12th-seeded Mexican tandem of Joel Sotelo/Juan Ibarra 15-11.
Saturday's biggest upset belonged to the 23rd-seeded team of Sinjin Smith/Rob
Heidger, who scored a 15-5 decision over second-seeded Karch Kiraly and Adam
Johnson in a meeting of United States rivals in the winner's bracket
In the only match where the higher-seeded team won in the winner's bracket
third-round,. fourth-seeded ZeMarco de Melo and Ricardo Santos downed
fifth-seeded Para Ferreira and Guilherme Marques of Brazil, the top-ranked
team on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, 15-5 in an All-Brazilian match.
The Lacigas now face ZeMarco and Ricardo while Ian Clark and Boullianne
battle Smith and Heidger in a winner's bracket fourth-round matches later
Saturday with the winner's advancing to Sunday's semi-finals. The men's
semi-finals in the Mexican Open are scheduled to be played at 11 a.m. and 1
"I can't remember the last time I beat Karch in a match," said Smith, who
will turn 42 next month and is playing with a broken toe on his left foot.
"I know that our matches are hard-fought. Rob and I played well today and
were able to make some big plays. It feels great not having to play in the
loser's bracket at this stage of an event.
Smith and Kiraly are the two winningest players in United States beach
volleyball history. Smith has 139 domestic titles to his credit along with
10 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour title. Kiraly, the only player to win
Olympic volleyball Gold Medals indoors and on the beach, has 136 domestic
event titles along with three FIVB crowns.
Heidger and Smith are now guaranteed their best finish together in three FIVB
starts after placing seventh in January in Argentina and 17th last December
in Brazil. Smith is trying to gain a semi-final berth in an FIVB open event
for the first-time since 1997 while Heidger is seeking his first.
The five-day two-person beach volleyball event started Wednesday with 53
men's teams attempting to qualify for the Main Draw in the $340,000 Mexican
Open, the first of three combined tournaments with women on the FIVB Beach
Volleyball World Tour this season. The Mexican Open concludes Sunday with
the semi-finals and championship matches starting at 10 a.m. Both Gold Medal
matches will net the winning teams the $30,000 first-place price for the
men's and women's winners.