Brink/Reckermann show German power at Horse Guards Parade
2012 Olympic Games
London, Great Britain, August 1, 2012. Brazilian duo Pedro Cunha and 2004 Olympic champion Ricardo Santos had to be at their very best to beat Josh Binstock and Martin Reader to finish their pool unbeaten en route to the round of 16 at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Brazilians were pushed hard from start to finish by the Canadians who were roared on by a large contingent of their compatriots in the Horse Guards Parade crowd. In the first set the Brazilians eventually shook off Binstock and Reader to take an early lead. The Canadians were equally dogged in the second set and saved three points before Cunha won the match with a powerful spike.
“It was a great match and they were two tough sets with only a small points’ difference,” Cunha said. “We played our best and finished pool play with three wins. It means we go straight to the quarter-finals and have a few days rest which is important in a long tournament like this.”
Despite the defeat Binstock and Reader still have the chance to reach the last 16 if they win their lucky loser match.
“We really thought we could win the game,” Binstock said. “It was good to battle them; they are one of the best teams in the world. We didn’t lose it, they took it.”
2011 and 2012 European champions Jonas Reckermann and Julius Brink sent notice that they are approaching their best form with a powerful win over their European rivals Sascha Heyer and Sebastian Chevallier of Switzerland.
The Germans started slowly but once they found their form they raced away to win the first set. They began the second set in equally determined form and Reckermann raised high at the net to block Chevallier’s spike for the first point. They then continued in that vein to finish with a 21-14, 21-16 victory.
“We’ve won 2-0, are first in our pool and that was a convincing victory,” Reckermann said. “They won two matches before, so that was a very good win.”
“We had a pretty good start,” Brink (see picture) added. “We were expecting a good team and I think we played well because they were unable to play their best. It is a good achievement to top this pool because they were four difficult teams.”
Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr ended Steve Grotowski and John Garcia-Thompson’s hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages with a straight sets victory. The Norwegians and British pairs pushed each other close in the first set and Skarlund and Spinnangr needed two match points to go one set up. In the second set though they dominated from start to finish and won 22-20, 21-13.
“I’m feeling great, it’s been an amazing tournament so far,” Skarlund said. “We’re getting better and better. It was a little tough for us with 15,000 against us. We started a little rusty, but we are improving.” It was a disappointing end for the home duo, that finishes their time at Horse Guards Parade with three losses from three. Nonetheless there was pride that they had competed in their home Olympics.
“This started five and a half years ago,” Grotowski said. “I knew it was going to happen, but I couldn’t imagine it would be like this. It has been a great experience; I just wish we could have done better.”
Jacob Gibb and Sean Rosenthal re-discovered their best form to beat Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Ruslans Sorokins in straight sets. After an opening match win, they lost their second to Poland’s Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek to leave their qualification hopes in the balance.
Against the Latvians they were dominant. Gibb took control at the net and Rosenthal was sharp in defense at the back of the court. It meant they secured a 21-10, 21-16 victory in 37minutes. “This was a really big win for us,” Gibb said. “We played like garbage two nights ago. We really needed that confidence.”
It will be Poles Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek who take first place in Pool D though after they beat South Africa’s Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt 21-19, 21-13. It means they claim first place as their head-to-head record with Gibb and Rosenthal, and Samoilovs and Sorokins was superior to their rivals.
“Our season has been hard,” Prudel said. “We did not practice a lot because of Grzegorz’s injury (knee tendon). We did not start playing until May, so this event has not been easy.”
There was also a win for Serguei Prokopiev and Konstantin Semenov of Russia, who beat China’s Linyin Xu and Penggen Wu.
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